Slash Your Energy Bill By $500 With CHOICE's Transformer Tool

Image: iStock

To reverse a popular Coles refrain, electricity prices in Australia are going "up, up, up" with seven out of 10 Australian households paying too much for electricity. To help you save, Choice have launched a new tool known as the Choice Transformer that can save consumers, on average, around $500 a year.

Released today, Choice Transformer allows you to forward your latest energy bill to an email address, which checks that bill for free and finds out if you're being overcharged. The service compares 33 energy retailers and if there is a better deal, you can join up and they'll switch you over. Interestingly, if an even better deal comes up, they'll switch you again.

Head of Media Tom Godfrey explained that Choice has "found a new way to get people a fair and transparent deal on their energy bill, with trials of our new service delivering individual savings of up to $1500" after "shadowy backroom deals" have taken away much of the savings that consumers should be seeing.

It's free for you to use the bill analysis tool, and if a saving is found, you can join up. That's different to other websites, which work on a commission-driven model. Instead, CHOICE will charge a $99 annual fee, which Godfrey says enables them to "put consumers first and give them bigger share of the savings on offer".

Currently, the service is only available to those in New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and South East Queensland.

Image: CHOICE

CHOICE do most of the work for you and in relation to other websites, compare a wider number of retailers

You can find out all the details here and I recommend reading this incredible breakdown of the tool from reader viveka in the comments below.


Comments

    So, it’s kinda like https://www.energymadeeasy.gov.au except it costs me a 100 bucks a year? Am I missing something?

      Yeah.... there are governments sites that do this for free.

      https://compare.switchon.vic.gov.au/

      It has rates per kw/h and daily connection fee for each provider.

      Would love to know what the $99 goes to.

        In fairness to Choice, they need to pay for their staff somehow but this smacks of an ad disguised as a deal...

      If fairness to Choice, it sounds like you are paying for them to monitor continually throughout the year.

      https://www.energymadeeasy.gov.au/ works well, but I’m certainly not on there checking for market changes all the time.

      Hi, I helped make this so I'll try to explain.

      TL;DR - it works really well, we handle everything for you (including calling the energy companies on your behalf), we switch you as often as it takes to keep you on the best deal, you get the highest possible savings with zero hassles.

      Long version:

      First, we have built a system that reads your latest bill, figures out the tariff type and usage pattern, plus all the variables like controlled loads, solar feed-in tariffs, exit fees, bundle discounts – everything. Then we scan every one of the thousands of publicly available deals. The deals change constantly so we update the whole thing daily.

      Then we put all the factors together and match you to the best possible deal. We use energymadeeasy and VIC Energy Compare data – it's fabulous that they've put those sites together, don't get me wrong – data availability is the key to all this. But our system does a lot more than tell you which deals in your region have the lowest kW⋅h rate.

      We worked with an energy market economist and a data science team, putting together years of research. It's an awesome system - it does the kind of detailed analysis that takes an energy expert hours to perform, instantly.

      OK, so you email us your bill, we do the match, we tell you how much you can save. Then once you know the saving you can choose to sign up. When you do, you're assigning CHOICE permission to act on your behalf to make it all happen.

      We've been running this systems for a few weeks now, initially launching very quietly to make sure we could double check everything and get the kinks out of it. Today we found someone over $2,000 in annual electricity savings. For that person at least, $99 is a bargain. Our average customer saves over $500/yr.

      Anyway. Once you sign up we get all your info. Our form is nice, clean, mobile friendly, far easier to use than the energy company forms. We have a support phone line that picks up on the first ring. We want to make sure everything runs on greased rails. And we're deadly serious about data security. We hired senior engineers, built in security from the ground up, and then commissioned external data security specialists to run penetration testing. And CHOICE doesn't sell your data or take advertising (which is why we charge for our services).

      OK – then our concierges take over. They fill in the energy company forms or call them or whatever it takes, and make sure that you get the exact deal that will give you the best saving, not the deal that they're pushing that week. Some of the energy companies get a bit confused when we refuse to take their commissions, but they're warming up to it ;)

      BTW, before launching we ran a year-long pilot to make sure this was a good idea. Rigorous and patient is just how we roll at CHOICE. In the pilot we tried just giving some people the information so they could switch themselves. Almost nobody actually did it. Because it's a giant hassle. And the deals change fast – if you don't get onto the switch immediately then by the time you call that deal has expired. This may be why only 21% of Australians have switched energy providers in the last 3 years, despite the serious money that costs us.

      We then set things up so that every time you get a bill, we get a copy as well. Energy companies are a lot like Darth Vader in this respect. After you sign up, *they alter the deal*. Within a year the discount evaporates, or the underlying rate changes – either way, you're not on the best deal for long. So when that happens, we just switch you again.

      So yeah that's it. We use an expert system to find you a better deal than you could have found yourself, and then we take all the hassle out of switching to make sure you actually get that deal. Nobody else offers all this. It was a massive effort to put it all in place, and we really, really hope you like it ^_^

      V.

      p.s. we're also hoping this service makes a profit eventually. When it does we will put all that money back into fighting for your consumer rights, because we're a chartered non-profit that exists only for that purpose. We've been doing it since 1959 and we're still pretty excited about it.

      Last edited 08/05/18 2:01 am

        Fantastic reply.

        I do check regularly on all my bills (phone, internet, power, gas) to make sure I am getting a good deal. Mainly because I am pretty tight.

        I can see how you this would be great for people who don't do that, or have a more complex power arrangement.

        Good luck.

        PS the article is now on Gizmodo, I would get this reply up on there. Otherwise it sounds like you are doing a paid service for something you can get for free. Which is completely the opposite of what Choice wants.

    Choice? In Tasmania there is no choice.

      The same for most of Western Australia.

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