Bill Hero results screen explained
The main Bill Hero results screen looks like this. This example is for electricity bill comparison results, and the equivalent gas bill results screen looks very similar, but will say 'gas savings' in the headline.
Let's dive into each component of this screen:
Bill Hero displays both the fuel type and annualised savings in the headline on this screen.
How we calculate the headline savings amount
We have more information on how the annualised savings are calculated here: How we calculate your savings
Bill Hero currently offers four filters to help you understand price changes and ranking under a number of different scenarios.
Here's what each of those filters means:
Energy retailers often offer plans with eligibility criteria, so you can access that plan and price only if you are a member of a particular club or society, or some other requirement.
We call these 'restricted plans' and we exclude them by default from your results and from your savings calculations. You can use the Restricted plans toggle to show or hide these kinds of plans in your results
Energy retailers often offer incentives and sign-up bonuses along with their plans. These incentives are often tactical in nature, and can be introduced or retired at any time by the retailer. It's common that a retailer might introduce a sign-up bonus as part of a time limited campaign for new customer acquisition.
Bill Hero will include the dollar value of any cash or cash-equivalent incentive in the comparison—retailers sometimes offer non-cash incentives like football jerseys, or movie tickets, and Bill Hero does not include these in the comparison. The dollar value of the incentive will be prorated over 1 year, even though the retailer will often pay the entire incentive in the first month. For example, a $120 incentive will manifest as a $10 reduction to a monthly bill. We actually calculate these incentives by days in billing period as proportion of a full year rather than months, but you get the idea.
By default, your results screen will load with the Incentives filter turned on. This means that the prorated cash value of any incentives will be included in the calculation for that plan, making it move up the rankings because it will become cheaper. We think this is the right approach because incentives represent genuine value to you as a consumer, and spreading the incentive out over a year rather than including it all in the first month avoids the issue where a plan might artificially rank well only because the first month bill price is artificially low.
How we calculate incentives
We have more information on how incentives are calculated here: What about incentives?
Pay on time
Discounts are a common feature of energy retail and marketing, but it's often very hard to understand the real world impact of a discount will be. Discounts can apply either to the supply charge components of your bill, or to the consumption charges, or to both, and they can be conditional or guaranteed. Guaranteed discounts will always be applied in your bill, but conditional discounts usually will be applied only if you pay on time, or for some plans, there may be additional incremental discounts available if you agree to pay by direct debit or pay in regular scheduled installments, or if you pay in advance.
The Pay on time filter allows you to see how prices will change, and potentially how the rankings will re-order depending on your actual behaviour as a bill payer.
By default, your Bill Hero results screen loads with the Pay on time filter set to 'Direct Debit'. This tells Bill Hero to include all conditional discounts in the calculations, inclusive of any incremental additional discounts, meaning that the alternative plans are shown in their best light, and will reveal the maximum savings available to you. You can then choose an alternative setting to see how prices change, and how rankings change depending on your payment behaviour.
Some plans are available only to customers who agree to pay in advance, pay by scheduled installment, or pay by direct debit. These plans will only be displayed if the Pay on time filter is set to 'Direct Debit', and will be filtered out if you change to on of the other settings for this filter.
The other options to the Pay on time questions are 'Yes', 'Sometimes' and 'No''.
- Yes means you will pay on time, but will not pay in advance or by direct debit, so this will result in the calculation including all guaranteed and conditional discounts, excluding any discounts explicitly tied to advance or direct debit payment.
- Sometimes means that you will pay half your bills on time, and the results will be repriced and reranked applying 50% of the potential conditional discounts
- No means you will not pay on time, and no conditional discounts will be included in the pricing for each plan in the comparison.
How we calculate discounts
We have more information on how discounts are calculated here: How does Bill Hero handle discounts?
Best retailer plan
Retailers usually have multiple plans available at different price points. This filter will retain only the best priced plan offered by each retailer, and remove all their other plans.
A new breed of retail electricity plan emerged in the Australian market in December 2020 with the introduction of the first battery-only electricity plans, available only to households with both solar and batteries. There plans could rank well, because they offered good feed-in tariff rates, but this caused frustration for many Bill Hero subscribers since most households do not yet have a battery, and so they would be presented with seemingly great savings only to find they were not eligible for the plan that promised the most savings.
The Got battery? filter specifies if any batttery-only plans should be included in the comparison or not. The default setting for this filter is 'no', so battery-only plans are excluded by default. If you do have a battery, you can set this to 'Yes, and batter-only plans will be displayed and included in the comparison.
The results carousel
Bill Hero displays the results ranked by price in a horizontal carousel if you're on a computer or in a vertical list if you're on mobile. Each plan in the comparison is represented by a card that shows the plan name, the retailer, any additional relevant details about that plan, and the calculated annualised savings available to you under that plan. The plan with the greatest savings for you is at to top of the list of ranked results.
There is an arrow button to left and right of the carousel, which allows you to scroll through the results., or you can use the navigation bar below the results to jump through the ranked list.
Each block in the nav bar represents a 'page' of 4 results, and the block that is highlighted in blue represents the page where 'Your bill' is included in the rankins. This gives you a quick visual overview of how competitive or not your own bill is compared to all the relevant alternatives in the market.
The big green 'Switch' button will click you though to the details page for each plan.
We also include a calculation of how this plan compares to the Default Market Offer, or DMO.
In Victoria, DMO is specified for single rate and single rate + controlled load tariffs with a consumption price per kWh and a supply price per da. This is the same way that retailers define pricing for their plans. Bill Hero treats DMO as just another plan on offer, and calculates the effective price for the consumption and time duration of your bill, using the DMO pricing, then expresses on each card the % more than or % less than Default Market offer.
In the other NEM states, DMO is specified as an annual price for a reference annual kWh consumption level. Bill Hero calculates what each plan would cost for a full year at the reference consumption level, and then expresses on each card the % more than or % less than Default Market offer
More about Default Offers
We have more information on default offers here: What are Default Offers
The tag cloud
The results and prices for each plan displayed by Bill Hero are calculated based on the time period, tariff type and consumption levels as specified in your bill, and the pricing offered under each plan. The tag cloud displays what those input parameters are that were taken from your bill.
In this example we can see that the prices for the alternative plans are calculated on basis of Postcode 4558 location - meaning the Energex distribution zone in QLD, a bill period starting 17/10/2020 and ending 20/01/2021 inclusive, Peak consumption of 1,073 kWh, Controlled Load consumption of 575 kWh, Solar exports of 1,099 kWh, Premium FiT tariff, and a Concession of $89.64