Due to the extenuating circumstances of Covid-19, many Australians are discovering the nightmare of negotiating the bureaucratic defences of government resources. The sound of shattering glass can be heard across the nation as computers are thrown through windows after deeply frustrated citizens fail to provide a 17th form of I.D., and an answer to the exact whereabouts of Harold Holt. If Shakespeare were alive today, perhaps Ariel would term things differently in The Tempest: “Hell is empty and all the bureaucrats are here.”
Indeed, before the Government invested $8 million in these new upgrades, Energy Made Easy was just such a hellscape. A user was required to enter all sorts of superfluous data manually, from bills dating back to antiquity to their favourite Pete Murray song. But now, thanks to AER’s upgrades, the minimum a user needs to do is supply the pdf of a single bill. Of course, the more bills supplied the more accurate the results.
In addition to the streamlining of user experience, the Australian Energy Regulator (AER), who hosts the website, has also upgraded the service to be available in 33 languages. However, probably the most notable upgrade (unless one doesn’t speak English), is the inclusion of solar feed-in credits to the calculation.
Residential solar PV is now one of the biggest sources of energy in the country, and any energy comparison website which didn’t incorporate solar would be about as useful as a step-ladder to a seagull. Now, if they can stop laughing all the way to the bank long enough to go online, solar PV owners can find even more ways to save money on their electricity bills.
More Necessary Than Ever
Federal Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor said that Covid-19 is making Australians more conscious than ever of their energy bills. “There’s never been a more important time to reduce your energy costs and shop around for a better deal on your electricity and gas,” said Taylor. “Customers can now search for energy plans using their energy meter data or by simply uploading a bill, making it easier to compare all available offers and pick what works best for you.”
One might remind Minister Taylor that the best way to help Australians get a better deal on their energy bill is not Energy Made Easy, but Easy Made Energy, and what energy is more easily made than solar? In a number of interviews in recent weeks, Tayor has been suggestive of Government intent to invest heavily in gas projects to provide more “cheap energy” to the market to lead the recovery from Covid-19. How Taylor can think gas is cheaper and easier than solar is a question for a trained psychological professional. After all, it’s raining energy in Australia and Taylor is out here trying to sell us umbrellas.
Nevertheless, Taylor is right about one thing, “If you haven’t reviewed your energy plan recently, chances are you’re paying too much.” The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) suggests that switching from a standing offer to a median market offer could potentially save consumers up to $230 a year and small businesses up to $1155.
Consumers in the ACT, New South Wales, South Australia, south-east Queensland and Tasmania can visit energymadeeasy.gov.au to compare deals and save.