1st Energy Tasmania
15 Mar, 2019
On 18 February this year, 1st Energy entered the Tasmanian electricity market as Aurora’s first serious competitor.
Although the Tasmanian government introduced Full Retail Competition in 2014, it has taken nearly 5 years for another major electrical retailer to offer their services. This may have been because Tasmanian power prices are still regulated by the Tasmanian government (the government sets a mandated price cap on power charges).
With prices capped, any new player in the energy market game can only offer the same prices as Aurora – or lower.
To help you better understand your options, Mode have put together an overview of what 1st Energy are offering in Tasmania.
(Please note: Mode are not endorsing any particular Company as an Electrical Retailer. Information provided is solely for the purpose of presenting an overview of options available to our Customers.)
1st Energy Tasmania
1st Energy is a small Melbourne-based retailer that also provides services in Victoria, NSW, and Queensland.
They communicate primarily through email – all bills, notices, and account information will be sent to a nominated email address.
Billing is generally on a monthly basis (although this can be negotiated with 1st Energy if required). Payment options include paper bill (with possible administration fee), direct debit, credit card (no card fees), & BPay.
We’ve been informed by 1st Energy that while the Company is Australian based (the head office is located in Melbourne, their call centre in Brisbane), some off-shore 3rd-party companies may be contracted to provide services specifically at the request of 1st Energy – usually in relation to collecting information/sales or providing advice on updates to services.
Tariffs & General Structure
Tariffs available through 1st Energy are very similar to those offered by Aurora. For Domestic supply the following Tariffs are available:
According to the Terms & Conditions of 1st Energy’s Standard Retail Contract, standing offer prices will not be varied more often than once every 6 months (Aurora typically revise pricing 12-monthly).
If you sign up, you’ll be transferred from your current energy retailer to 1st Energy at the next meter read (typically done on a quarterly basis). This means that, depending on when you request a transfer, it may be some weeks before the change comes into effect.
As may be seen in Table 1 above, standard pricing is almost identical to Aurora – the main difference being that 1st Energy charges to 2 decimal places, rather than 3, usually (though not always) rounding in favour of the customer.
As a matter of curiosity, see Table 2 below for how much this would ‘save’ you over a year (at current pricing). Please note that we’ve given possible savings per 100 kWh for energy consumption as each customer will have vastly different consumption rates. This value may be used to calculate your savings based on your own consumption.
In addition to this standard pricing, 1st Energy are offering ongoing contracts with specific benefits aimed at both general home-owners and owners of solar installations, as detailed below.
1st Saver Plans
1st Saver Plans are ongoing contracts available to both general residential customers or those with solar installations. Plan options can be found here.
The key ‘benefit’ of this plan is that Customers will receive a 5% pay-on-time discount.
This discount will only apply to energy consumption charges – it does not apply to your fixed supply charges (ie, it does not apply to your total bill, just the energy consumption component).
For Solar owners, please note: under 1st Saver plans, customers with a solar installation will receive exactly the same Feed-In tariff for any exported energy that they currently receive from Aurora (1st Energy will pay to to 3 decimal places on your feed-in tariff). This is currently 8.541 c/kWh.
Generally customers have a 14-day payment period from receipt of their bill via email for this ‘pay-on-time’ discount to be effective. The discount is applied on a month-by-month basis.
The plan comes with a 12-month benefit period. After this 12 months, 1st Energy will contact you to provide you with further options after that period.
1st Solar Bonus
As indicated by the name, 1st Solar Bonus Plans are available to residential customers with solar installations. A range of 1st Solar Bonus plans can be found here.
The ‘benefit’ for Customers on this plan is that they will receive an additional 5c/kWh on the regulated Feed-In Tariff. Pricing on current Feed-In Tariff rates can be found in Table 3 below. These rates are valid until 30 June 2019 (the Regulator generally revises pricing every new financial year).
Customers with solar systems that generate minimal export have the option of considering whether the 1st Saver Plan may be a more financially rewarding option.
Mode have been advised by 1st Energy that, should customers wish to transfer from one plan to another, they may do so simply by making a phone call to 1st Energy and requesting the change. No charges should apply.
Customer Reviews: caveat emptor
There’s pricing – and there’s service. We’ve summarised results from reviews on both Aurora and 1st Energy found at ProductReview.com.au below (current as at 13/03/2019) for your consideration. Google Reviews may also be worth attention.
Average 1.4/5 star review from 22 reviews over 7 years & 1 state.
18 x 1-star reviews. Main issues addressed:
- High power & service costs
- Billing issues
- Poor customer service
- Monopoly/lack of competition
- Incorrect meter readings
- Estimated usage being used as basis for billing, rather than meter readings
- Objections to Aurora’s dog policy for meter readings
Average 1.1/5 star-review from 47 reviews over 2 years & 4 states.
45 x 1-star reviews. Main issues addressed:
- Misinformation/misleading sales tactics
- Rude/pushy phone operators
- Poor customer service from third-party/contracted call centres
- Request for personal information deemed unnecessary to establishment of an account (Medicare card numbers)
- High power costs
- Overzealous transferal of customers to 1st Energy without their informed consent/permission/approval
- Nuisance calls following contact with Company
In considering different Energy Retailers, the following links may be helpful: