The Utilities.com.au vision is to collect and compare as many products as possible to help people search, compare, and save on essential services. Regardless of the company's diligence not all product information is publically available. Utilities.com.au is limited to comparing against market information that can be validated and enabling products only from approved energy retailers. The nature of this information makes it impossible to know every deal that is available in the marketplace or to be able to offer you that product every time. Our policy is to recommend the best product we have available based on your selected criteria – not what will most benefit energy retailers or our company.
How can the Utilities.com.au service be free of charge to consumers?
This service is free of charge to you and never marks up the cost of products in any way. We do receive a commission for each utility change that we enable. Energy is a regulated market. We are required by law to tell you accurate information. In short, we try our best to offer you the most useful information possible and strive to put the consumer first in every recommendation.
What is a Standing (Standard) Offer?
Previously in more regulated times a standing offer was the "default" offer that different energy retailers gave to consumers if they didn't ask for a better deal. These offers had special restrictions including rules that dictated how much the retailers could charge as a maximum rate; the consumers couldn't be locked into agreements; and it had a set schedule of government reviewed fees and charges. The most important of these restrictions was a capped maximum price that they could charge. Currently in some markets like Victoria and South Australia standing offers are anything but standard. The common practice is for energy retailers to set their own "Standing Offer" with very high costs. There is very little regulation on how expensive they can make these products appear.
Why should this mean anything to the consumer? The standing offer is usually the offer that each retailer compares their other products against, "15% off!", but as the same company is setting the standing offer price the percentage doesn't really mean anything. Example: A retailer can increase their standing offer by 30% and then offer you a 20% discount. This is why it is very important to compare products from various retailers in context and in relation to each other. The very essence of why Utilities.com.au benefits consumers.
How does Utilities.com.au choose the product which others are compared against?
When the consumer puts in their product criteria the user is prompted to select their current energy plan. The website provides the means to select from a list of retailers which operate in the postcode selected, and then a list of current products from those retailers including standing offers. However, the names of products frequently change, consumers rarely know the name of their product, or their current product may no longer be available in that postcode. If a consumer isn't sure of their current energy company or the product the system selects one of several product choices to compare other products against. In order of priority:
Regulated Offers: In markets where there is a regulated price, the system compares against the product closest to the regulated price.
Standing Offers: If the postcode is in a market which has no regulated maximum cost the system picks the "median" standing offer. The median standing offer is literally the one in the middle of the standing offers available. The most common plans to compare against are the standing offers and picking the middle one is more realistic than picking the most expensive standing offer.
Natural Fit: Sometimes when there is a wide variety of offers to compare against there are natural groupings in the data which makes it a better pick by a human than a computer. In these cases sometime the offers to compare against are manually set.
Best Guess: Lastly if there are no regulated or standing offers in a postcode for a particular product the system does pick the most expensive product to compare against. This rarely happens but when it does the most expensive product is typically similar to a standing offer.
Remember the most important thing in comparing products is not the estimated savings. It is the relative position of the best priced products in response to the consumer's criteria. This answers the question "What is the best product for me?" - it is not just a hollow promise of savings. Equally important is also how fast and easy it is to change to a new retailer.
What is an energy Retailer?
Energy retailers are at the end of the supply chain. It's worthwhile understanding the basic way energy is created and then managed:
Generator - creates power or refines it from renewable or non-renuable energy sources like petroleum products, wind, solar or gas.
Transmission - transports energy products through transmission power lines, gas pipelines, or other transport to a servicable area.
Distributor - distributors are the ones who physically service the homes and businesses. The provide the power and people to make it happen. The distributor always remains the same. The distributors are assigned to each area by government contract.
Retailer - retailers set the price of your energy, bill you, and provide customer service. They also communicate to the distributor who physically services your property and provides the actually electricity and gas.
Why are Distributors and Retailers not the same?
They use to be! In order to introduce competition in the marketplace and ensure consumers had the best price possible the energy regulator forces a seperation between the distributor and retailers. Energy retailers buy energy with something that resembles the stock market or a wheat board - buying erergy allotments at different prices. They then on-sell that energy to you at whatever price they believe they can justify. They are in business to make a profit. That's were Utilities.com.au comes in - we compare their prices and try to find you the best deal.
Having a change of mind for any reason? That's ok! If you find a better price, or even if you are just not feeling happy about making a change - you can contact any of our energy retailers within 10 days of your application and they will cancel the change. No questions asked! No Exit Fees! Just tell them No Thank You and walk away.
We make amazing deals every day. It's possible that you could even make a better one than what we can offer. It's rare but it does happen. The reality is that if you spend a lot of time talking to salesmen on the phone from each of the utility companies in your area, make detailed comparisons of every plan, read all the fine print (there is quite a bit of that), figure out how to apply and then follow through it may be possible to get slightly better deals in some cases. That's why we are here! We find the best deals, highlight the small print, and allow you to pick the best deal possible in a few minutes - not hours. A simple short form and you are done! How much is your time worth and how many salesmen do you want to talk to?
If you are a little lonely and want someone to talk to - call around. It will give you hours of enjoyment!
1.1. This Product Comparison and Application Agreement ("Application Agreement") governs the terms and conditions upon which Utilities.com.au Pty Ltd ACN 167 156 569 ("Utilities.com.au") agrees to provide you ("Applicant") with the registration service and associated services as described on the website located at www.Utilities.com.au ("Website") and as otherwise described in this Application Agreement ("Services").
1.2. Utilities.com.au provides a utilities comparison and registration service ("Utilities Comparison") for service products registered with Utilities.com.au. If you elect to subscribe to the Services, you acknowledge that you have you have read, understood and agree to be bound by the terms and conditions of the Services Agreement.
1.4. You acknowledge and agree that if you are in breach of this Application Agreement, Utilities.com.au may suspend, cancel or modify your use of the Services by providing you with notice to your primary email address listed on your Utilities.com.au account.
1.6 For the purposes of this Application Agreement, "Australian Consumer Law" means the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth).
2. Utilities Registration Services
2.1. Utilities.com.au is a utilities comparison company.
2.2. Utilities.com.au also obtains information on behalf of various utility companies from consumers that are interested in changing their utility providers.
2.3. All applications Utilities.com.au communicates for you ("Applications") shall not be effective unless and until the administrator for the particular utility company updates their records with the information you have provided to Utilities.com.au, pursuant to the terms of the relevant Agreement entered into between you and the relevant utilities company. All transactions are between the utility companies and you as the consumer.
3. Registration and renewal of your agreement. Utilities.com.au will attempt to maintain a record of your application and its relevant term. Although Utilities.com.au has no obligation to communicate with you about when that term may or may not end - Utilities.com.au will endeavour to remind you that your application may end or standard prices may apply. Due to the nature of the utilities service provider and customer relationship - Utilities.com.au is not always privy to all relevant information about customer statuses including expirations or charged rates.
3.1. Utilities.com.au registers applications utilizing the best information it has available to it. There is no guarantee that any service applied for by you will be able to be serviced or an agreement will be reached with the utility company. Utilities.com.au, due to the nature of real time information and data, does not warrant in any way that the information on the website is accurate. Every reasonable effort is made to maintain and acquire as much relevant data as possible. However, the company research has its limitations. Not all products represented on the website from third parties may be wholly accurate. That said the Utilities.com.au staff constantly look to improve, update, and acquire information and to make it easily comparable for consumers.
3.2. You agree that you will not make assumptions of any service until that service has been verified by the relevant service provider directly to you.
3.3. You shall not have any proprietary rights or guarantees to the availability of any service until the service provider obligates themselves to the agreement.
3.4 Please read each utility company's terms and conditions. In particular it is important to read and understand which bonuses, rates, and terms are conditional vs. those that are unconditional. This data is found both in this website and the Utility company Price Fact Sheets.
3.5 Price Fact Sheets: regardless of any information found on this websites. It is your duty as a consumer to review and understand each of the relevant Price Fact Sheets from the energy retailers. Although Utilities.com.au Pty Ltd provides you as a consumer with abridged information and an easy means to find information, it is the responsibility of the consumer to understand and compare the actual price fact sheets from the retailers.
4. Dispute Resolution Policy
4.1. You acknowledge that you have read, understood and agree to be bound by all terms and conditions of each energy retailer that you may enter into an agreement with. These terms and conditions frequently change. You should understand that it is your responsibility to ensure that the terms and conditions of your agreement are most accurate and up to date when found on the energy retailer website directly, and agree to ensure that you understand that information.
6. Payment of Moneys
6.1. All agreements between consumers and energy retailers are strictly between you and the energy retailers. At no time will the company be involved in the collection of money regarding supply or consumption of any energy supply.
6.2. This is a free service to the consumer. The energy retailers do pay a commission to the company when transactions are enabled through the company website and call centre services. Although this is not passed on to the consumer it is important that we are transparent with the consumer.
7. Collection of Personal Information
7.1. You must provide to Utilities.com.au, the information set out in all of the fields of the applicable registration form ('Personal Information'). You warrant that all Personal Information provided is complete, accurate, reliable and not otherwise misleading. You undertake to ensure that the Personal Information remains correct and current at all times.
7.3 You consent to your Personal Information being:
(a) transmitted to, and used, copied, distributed, published, modified and otherwise processed by, the energy retailers or its designees and agents, including in relation to the relevant central database; and
(b) used by Utilities.com.au for inclusion in its customer databases maintained by Utilities.com.au or its licensees.
7.9. Utilities.com.au undertakes to use all reasonable precautions to protect Personal Information from loss, misuse, unauthorized access or disclosure, alteration, or destruction.
8. Agents and Licensees
8.1. If the Services are used or accessed by your agent, you shall nonetheless be bound as a principal by all terms and conditions of this Application Agreement.
9. No Warranty or Guarantee
9.1. Utilities.com.au does not guarantee that any particular energy agreement you wish to register or renew will be available.
9.2. Utilities.com.au does not guarantee that you will be able to register or renew a particular energy plan, even if a preliminary search or inquiry indicates that the plan is available. This may be due to:
(a) inaccurate data being offered on energy retailer websites; or
(b) inaccuracies or errors of data over time caused by data being propagated over time.
9.3. Utilities.com.au may in its sole and absolute discretion, accept or reject your application for any energy plan.
9.4. Utilities.com.au is not responsible or liable in any way for any errors, omissions or any other actions or inaction by the energy companies arising out of or in connection with your application, or a failure to obtain a suitable energy agreement.
9.5. To the maximum extent permitted by law (including the Australian Consumer Law), Utilities.com.au disclaims all warranties and guarantees, whether express or implied, regarding the Services or any other services that Utilities.com.au may perform for you from time to time.. To the extent that such warranties or guarantees cannot be disclaimed by law, you agree that the liability of Utilities.com.au shall be limited to the commission obtained in conjunction to the supply of that service (except to the extent that such limitation is in breach of the Australian Consumer Law).
11. Limitation of Liability
11.1. To the maximum extent permitted by law (including the Australian Consumer Law, neither Utilities.com.au nor the energy retailers shall have any responsibility and shall not be liable to you or your agent or nominee for any and all indirect, incidental, punitive, special, exemplary, or consequential loss or damage or any damages resulting from loss of profits, arising out of or in connection with the Services or this Application Agreement.
11.2 To the maximum extent permitted by law (including the Australian Consumer Law), you agree that in no event will the liability of Utilities.com.au under this Application Agreement for any matter exceed the fees paid by the energy retailers in regards to your specific application for the provision of the Services.
12.1. To the maximum extent permitted by law (including the Australian Consumer Law), you agree to indemnify, keep indemnified, defend and forever hold harmless, Utilities.com.au, the energy retailers and the retailer's sub-contractors, and the directors, officers, employees, agents and affiliates of each of them, from and against any and all claims, damages, liabilities, costs and expenses (including reasonable legal fees and expenses) arising out of or in connection with:
(a) your application; or
(b) your violation of any third party right, including without limitation any intellectual property or other proprietary rights;
(d) any administrative proceeding or court proceeding with respect to the application for energy plans, whether initiated by you or by a third party.
12.2. The indemnity set out in this clause 12 shall survive the termination or expiration of this Application Agreement.
15. Material Breach
15.1. You are in material breach of this Application Agreement ("Material Breach") entitling Utilities.com.au to exercise its rights under clause 16 if, after having received notice from Utilities.com.au of the particulars of the breach ("Breach Notice"), you:
(a) fail to rectify the breach within five (5) business days of receipt of the Breach Notice; or
(b) fail to provide Utilities.com.au with a reasonable explanation in defense of the breach within five (5) business days of receipt of the Breach Notice.
16. Suspension, Cancellation, Transfer or Modification of Energy Applications.
16.1. Utilities.com.au may immediately suspend, cancel, transfer or modify your application by providing you with notice to your primary email address listed on your Utilities.com.au account if:
(a) you are in Material Breach of this Application Agreement;
(b) Utilities.com.au has reasonable grounds to believe that the application is fraudulent;
16.2. You agree that Utilities.com.au or its agents can contact you in regard to commodity services as reasonable within the confines of this service.
16.3. The relevant energy retailer has the right to deny, cancel or transfer any application or agreement.
18.1. Clauses 7, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14 and 18 shall survive the termination or expiration of this Application Agreement.
19.1. The terms of this Application Agreement are severable. If any term or provision is declared invalid or unenforceable, it shall be severed from this Application Agreement and shall not affect the interpretation or operation of the remaining terms or provisions, which shall remain in full force and effect.
20. Entire Agreement
20.1. To the maximum extent permitted by law (including the Australian Consumer Law), this Application Agreement and incorporated herein, constitutes the entire agreement between you and Utilities.com.au regarding the provision of the Services and supersede all prior agreements and understandings, whether established by custom, practice, policy, or precedent.
21. Governing Law
21.1. This Application Agreement is governed in all respects by and construed in accordance with the laws of the State of Queensland, Australia, and you submit to the non-exclusive jurisdiction (without prejudice to other potentially applicable jurisdictions) of the Courts of Queensland.
22.1. Nothing in this Application Agreement shall be construed as creating the relationship of agency, partnership or joint venture between the parties.
23. Force Majeure
23.1. Neither party will be in default or otherwise liable for any delay or failure in its performance under this Application Agreement where such delay or failure arises by reason of an Act of God, any government or governmental body, acts of war, the elements, strikes or labor disputes, power or system failures, failure of the Internet, computer hacking, or other causes beyond the reasonable control of such party.
24.1. Failure by either party to exercise or enforce any right or provision of this Application Agreement shall not be deemed to be a waiver of such right or provision and does not affect the right to require any provision to be performed at any time thereafter.
25.1. All notices required to be sent under this Application Agreement shall be sent via e-mail:
(b) If to you, to the primary email address listed on your Utilities.com.au account.
25.2. Any notice sent shall be deemed to have been received at the time and date logged by the sender's email server of confirmation of delivery of the email message to the recipient's email server.