MORE than one quarter households have only ever been with one energy provider, potentially costing them hundreds of dollars a year in missed savings.
New research by comparison website Finder.com.au found that 27 per cent of people had never switched, and Baby Boomers are the most loyal customers.
However, almost 30 per cent of people had changed energy providers in the past two years, suggesting that surging electricity and gas costs are prompting many into action.
Finder energy specialist Graham Cooke said many energy plans were evergreen contracts that continually rolled over.
“If your plan is rolling over indefinitely it can be easy to forget about it altogether, especially because energy is a necessity, but loyalty doesn’t always pay off when it comes to keeping the lights on,” he said.
He said people should understand that discounts did not always last. “Once the discount expires some energy retailers might actually swap you from your current offer to an often more expensive offer.”
Separate Finder analysis found that households could save up to $578 a year by switching their energy plan.
Its survey of more than 2000 people found that one in 10 Australians had no idea when they last reviewed or modified their energy plan.
Origin Energy spokesman Stuart Osbourne said customers who were on standing offers — default government-regulated deals — with an energy retailer could save money by switching to market offers, which often included discounts and lower rates.
“There is money to be saved for people who shop around, but customers should always check they understand the conditions of any offer they sign up to and make sure it is the right deal for them,” he said.
Most states now have a variety of energy retailers competing for consumers’ business, although there is no electricity competition in Tasmania, regional Queensland, the Northern Territory and Western Australia.
Origin’s Mr Osbourne said people stuck with energy retailers for many different reasons, including price and service.
“Before customers switch, they should check and see if they are on the best deal with their existing retailer,” he said.