Savings as a Service - Issue #11
Energy price shocks continue to impact the retail market, but the Energy Price Relief Plan, including caps to wholesale gas and coal pricing, might mean we're near the top of the retail price rollercoaster.
Happy New Year for 2023, and welcome to another issue of Savings as a Service, the newsletter from Bill Hero.
It will come as no surprise that energy pricing remains firmly in the media spotlight, as Australian energy consumers are now being hit with Gas price rise notices. At Bill Hero, we've already seen some retailers publish Gas price change notices with rates more than double what they previously were.
Energy pricing is a constantly moving target, and if you want to stay on the most competitive plans, it's just not enough to compare a bill every once in a while when you get around to it. You need to check your bills all the time, or you need Bill Hero to do it for you.
If you're not yet a subscriber, then now is the time.
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Gas Pricing Update
Many Savings as a Service subscribers will have received their gas price increase notice in January. Any mains-connected gas consumers in the Australian East Coast markets will be impacted by gas price increases.
We've previously covered the background to these gas price increases: Global gas prices rose dramatically due to Russian gas supply uncertainty after the war in Ukraine. Of course, Russia and Ukraine are far away, but without a domestic gas reservation policy, our domestic gas market is firmly tied to global markets. So even though Australia is the world's largest exporter of LNG, we're currently exposed to international prices.
Or we were until December 2022, when The Federal Labor government announced its Energy Price Relief Plan, including these four key pillars:
- A 12-month cap on black coal prices at $125 a tonne
- A 12-month cap on gas at $12 a gigajoule
- Up to $3bn in targeted energy bill relief for households and businesses
- Investment in cleaner, cheaper, more reliable energy for the future.
On 23 December, an 'emergency gas market price order' came into effect, setting a wholesale gas price cap of $12 per gigajoule, forcing the wholesale market back down to levels much more in line with the long-term averages.
Why are Gas prices so important?
Gas prices matter, even if you do not have any mains gas at home, because the wholesale price of gas significantly influences the wholesale electricity price.
Wholesale electricity prices are set by the highest generator bid accepted for each 30-minute dispatch period, and it's common that a 'gas-peaking plant' will set that high bid.
The wholesale gas price is the major cost input for gas-peaking plants and will directly drive the bid price for electricity generated by those plants. So increased wholesale gas prices will dramatically impact prices across the wholesale electricity market, even for people who do not directly consume gas.
Both gas and electricity are required as inputs for virtually every commercial and industrial business and process, so any increases to these wholesale energy inputs result in increased costs, which of course, translate into increased prices for goods and services, driving economy-wide inflation.
What does all this mean for my bills?
Retail energy bill prices will still go up – but not as much as previously anticipated.
Predicted Gas price increases eased by two percentage points in 2022-23 and 16 percentage points in 2023-24
Bill Hero Updates
There's always something happening at Bill Hero HQ
We can't wait to introduce some new capabilities that our team has been developing.
Our pipeline of new features will make it easier than ever to find, switch and always stay on the best-priced energy plans available, no matter what happens in the marketplace.
Intrigued? Get early access by joining the Bill Hero Beta Program:
We're proud to announce our newest partners to the Bill Hero Affiliate Program, Yondr.money and StrataServe:
We're thrilled to announce our first financial services partnership with Yondr.money.
Yondr is the free digital banking alternative with smart features that give you insights and control over your spending habits - while saving you money with bank-beating exchange rates, no hidden fees and $0 international transaction fees.
Together, Yondr and Bill Hero are ensuring that Yondr customers will never overpay for energy again.
Strata apartments are the fastest-growing property sector in Australia and the world, and StrataServe is the first dedicated online services portal for strata apartment owners and residents.
Bill Hero is proud to participate in the StrataServe marketplace, offering our unbeatable energy bill management solution.
Generative AI competition
Aside from the endless fascination with energy markets, here at Bill Hero HQ, we're also pretty interested in tech, especially in the recent explosion in AI tools.
The featured image for this newsletter was generated by OpenAI's DALL-E 2 image generation platform, using this simple prompt: Illustration of a man and a woman sitting at the kitchen table shocked by a very expensive energy bill.
Bill shock is scary, but we thought it would be fun to see what kinds of images Bill Hero and Savings as a Service subscribers can make around the theme of 'Bill Shock' using these kinds of tools. There are several of them to try, and you'll be amazed at how easy it is:
Send your favourite 'Bill Shock' images, along with the prompts used to generate them, to email@example.com.
We'll feature our favourite image in next month's issue of Savings as a Service, and the winner will receive a free 2-month extension to their Bill Hero subscription. The judge's decision is final, and this is not a game of chance.
There are two sides to the coin for energy savings:
Bill Hero is about paying less for what you use.
Energy Coach is about using less energy.
As prices steadily climb higher, getting on top of your energy consumption is more important than ever.
One of the best ways to achieve this is by generating your own electricity with a solar installation. If you’re unsure where to start, our partners at SolarQuotes have you covered.
Bill Hero has partnered with SolarQuotes, the leading Solar quote provider in Australia, to help you get up to 3 no-obligation quotes from fully qualified solar installers, absolutely for free.
Review of the Month
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Bill Hero Community
We’ve taken the first steps toward fostering a Bill Hero community by enabling Comments for the Savings as a Service blog that this newsletter forms part of.
Signed-in users can comment on any post, including this newsletter post! Just scroll down to the bottom of the page, and comment away. But before you do, please check our Community Guidelines:
We can’t wait to see how this develops over time, and we hope we can foster a valuable and productive shared community of engaged energy consumers.