Energy Suppliers: Standard retail contract vs market retail contract
Standard retail contracts have set terms and conditions and no expiration date, which also means no exit fees. Prices are set at a standing offer rate. Each state has its own rules about if and when a standing offer tariff can be changed, but the customer should receive notice prior to a rate change. However, this relative stability usually means higher prices.
Market retail contracts are generally more competitive and can offer lower prices. Unlike standard contracts, there are expiration dates and associated exit fees for terminating a contract early. The supplier is also allowed to change the prices at any time, which could result in a surprise when the bill comes. On the plus side, market retail contracts may be able to offer discounts and incentives for signing up.
Understanding your energy contract
Reading the fine print may be a drag, but it’s important to understand the key components of your energy contract. Agreements vary depending on which supplier you use and which tariff you are on, and the terms and conditions are not always the same. Before you sign on the dotted line, there are a few things to look for.
- Fees: Are there late payment fees or early exit fees?
- Cooling off period: Can you change your mind soon after signing?
- Contract term: How long is the contract between you and the supplier?
- Billing term: When can you expect the bill?
- Payment method: Is your preferred payment method available?
- Discounts: Does the supplier offer a discount for early payment or direct debit?
- Solar feed-in tariff: If you have solar panels will you benefit?
- Online bill management: Can you manage your bills online?
If you’re not sure about any part of your contract, you can speak to one of our consultants at any time. When you’re fully informed about your energy plan and contract, then you are able to find a better deal that will maximize your energy savings all year round.