Power to the people

LOCALS are set to save as much as $600 a year on their power bills after the Big Griffith Switch energy discount was released today.

It has been a long time coming, but One Big Switch has secured a 15 per cent discount off usage and supply charges for all Griffith members and people will be able to make the switch from today.

Campaign director Christopher Zinn said the “highly competitive” offer with online electricity retailer Click Energy was not available anywhere else in NSW and could save households hundreds of dollars in the first year. 

“We estimate for an average household now on the regulated rate and using 7000kWh annually, the saving could be $440,” Mr Zinn said.

“For heavier users on 10,000 kWh on the regulated rate the savings could add up to $600 for the 12 months.”

The 15 per cent discount will be available for the first 12 months of the contract.

After that time, customers can claim a 9 per cent discount from Click or switch to another provider.

However, Mr Zinn said there were a number of conditions included in the offer.

Click Energy is an online retailer, meaning anyone wanting to switch will need to have access to a computer and hold a current email address.

Anyone who doesn’t can call One Big Switch to find out about other offers.

Also, customers will be required to pay by-the-month - an option Mr Zinn said could actually be beneficial for many people.

“The discount is secured by paying a $110 instalment upfront, which is then credited to your account,” Mr Zinn said.

“Instead of getting one bill every three months, which can sometimes be a shock, you keep paying a monthly bill of $110.

“Every quarter when your meter is read, the $330 you have paid for the quarter is reconciled with your actual usage - and you pay a bit more or a bit less to square the ledger.”

Mr Zinn said the pay-by-the-month option would not be for everybody but for families who suffered “bill shock” when their account came in every three months, it was a good option.

He urged people to visit the One Big Switch website and use the online calculator to determine whether the deal was right for them.

He also suggested people check whether they had an exit fee on their current electricity contract. 

The offer was due to be launched two weeks ago but the deal fell through and organisers were forced to re-enter negotiations with energy retailers.

The Big Griffith Switch was launched on June 7 with the offer set to be released in early July. 

However, negotiations with electricity retailers proved more difficult than expected and Mr Zinn said they were forced to push back the offer release date in order to secure the best possible discount.

More than 1000 members in Griffith will be sent the offer and they then have two weeks to decide - until midnight on Friday, August 23 - whether to accept the offer, use it to negotiate with their existing retailer or simply stick with their current plan.