One Big Switch is a company that relies on the ‘power in numbers’ principle in order to achieve better outcomes for consumers.
They announce a campaign in a particular area and invite people to register their interest with no cost and no obligation. Once they achieve critical mass, they approach various service providers and try to negotiate a special deal for all those who signed-up.
This deal aims to be better than anything consumers can negotiate for themselves on an individual basis since One Big Switch is able to offer the providers the potential for mass sign-ups of new customers without them having to spend any money on advertising and marketing.
Once the negotiations are completed and the special deal is agreed upon, it is announced to all the people who initially registered for the campaign. These people, and anyone else who might be interested, then have a certain amount of time during which the offer remains open and they are able to sign-up for it.
One Big Switch makes its money from referral fees. The company is paid a fee by the chosen provider for each new customer who signs up for the offer they negotiated.
They previously ran campaigns to get better deals on mortgages and health insurance ,amongst other things, which were all well received and got significant media coverage. One Big Switch boasts that it has almost half a million Australians on its database which gives it significant bargaining power when negotiating with various service providers.
Their latest initiative was to get better prices on electricity for consumers in Queensland who have seen their costs skyrocket recently.
After negotiating with several providers, they managed to secure a deal with the online-only electricity retailer Click Energy.
The deal which was secured is a 7% discount off usage (which is the price you pay for each kWh you use) as well as the fixed service charges (which is the price you pay per each day you have electricity connected to your residence, regardless of usage) and a $100 rebate credited in two installments: $50 upon signing-up and another $50 after 12 months.
If you have grid-connected solar panels on your roof, you will also get an extra 10 cents per each kWh you generate and export back to the grid. This 10 cents premium is above and beyond the rate you get paid by the local state government.
The plan has no fixed contract term so you can leave at any time and pay no exit fees.
If you are a Queenslander, you can sign-up for this offer within the next 26 days.
We strongly support this company and its campaigns. We feel they are doing great work in shifting the balance of power back into consumer hands and like their ‘group buying’ business model.
However, we feel that the current deal they achieved is not that outstanding as how some of their past deals were. Furthermore, we believe that we have managed to find something that is better than the current offering from One Big Switch. We will get to that shortly.
Firstly, you need to be aware that the 7% discount is a standard and ongoing offer that is available to anyone who signs up with Click Energy on their Click Easy plan. This plan has been around for several years now and is not some time-limited promotional offer. It’s the regular product.
Secondly, the 10 cents per kWH of solar power exported to the grid premium on top of what is paid by the government is also nothing special. It’s the standard offering available to anyone with Click Energy on their Click Shine plan.
Lastly, Click Energy offers a standard $50 rebate to anyone who signs up online through their website. The rebate is paid in two installments of $25 each. By going through One Big Switch, you will get double the rebate and that’s basically their only ‘achievement’ over and above the standard offering from Click Energy which is available to anyone anytime.
We feel that it’s important for us to let you know that there is also another offer currently available from Dodo that could potentially save you even more money. Their discounts are higher but apply only on the usage component (the price per kWH). The fixed service charge (price per day regardless of the amount of electricity used) remains as per the standard government taarif in each region.
QLD residents residing in the Energex service area (other Queenslanders don’t get to choose their electricity retailer for the time being unfortunately) get 10% off their usage, NSW residents get 15% off and VIC residents get a whopping 20% off with an option to increase it even further to 30% if they also bundle their gas service with Dodo.
Based on some number crunching we did, we believe that this offer gives a bigger discount to the vast majority of Queenslanders than what is offered by One Big Switch. The only exception would be people who use very little electricity to an extent that the fixed service charges form the bulk of the overall final price they see on their bill. We believe these are a minority and for them, signing up with Click Energy through this initiative probably makes more sense.
For the rest of you, we believe the Dodo offer will save you more of your hard earned.
If you sign-up with Dodo before 06/08/2013, there will be no fixed contract term so you can switch to another provider at any time at no cost at all.
After August 6, you will still be able to get those discounts but will need to sign-up for a 12 month contract in order to secure the maximum discount available (alternatively, you can opt for no fixed contract term and get half the discount). If you then want to leave Dodo before your 12 months are up, you will need to pay them an exit fee of $3.30 per each month left on your contract.
Dodo does not charge you any credit card surcharge but, surprisingly enough, charges you a $1.10 fee per each payment made via Bpay or by direct debit from your bank account. Therefore, we suggest that if you sign-up with them and don’t have a credit card (or don’t want to use one), you use the debit card that comes with your transaction account to make the payments to Dodo.
Finally, keep in mind that Dodo will send you your bill via email. If you want a paper bill posted to you, they will charge you a $1.10 fee per each posted bill.
We invite each and every one of you to do their own sums but, as was said above, we believe that for the vast majority of Queenslanders that are able to take advantage of the offer from One Big Switch, the offer from Dodo actually gives better value for money, especially if you sign up before August 6.
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