2021 Update – Is the AGL Seniors Discount a Good Deal?

Home Blog Energy supplier 2021 Update – Is the AGL Seniors Discount a Good Deal?

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The AGL Seniors Discount

AGL Seniors Discount is promoted as a special deal for Seniors Card Holders. In this article we analyse if the AGL Seniors Discount offer is a good deal for seniors in Victoria, NSW, Queensland and SA.

In NSW, Vic and Qld the AGL Seniors Offer is sponsored by the State Governments. The Victorian Government ceased sponsorship in 2019, but recommenced again this year.

It sounds a great deal, right? Read on to find out if it really is a good deal or not.

Did you know that AGL pay State Governments in Vic, NSW and Qld for their sponsorship of the AGL Seniors Discount offer? It’s wise to be suspicious about any special discount from an Energy Company even when it is sponsored by the Government. We dug a bit deeper and found that AGL also pay inducements to seniors organisations (e.g. OverSixty) to promote their offer.

Are you still confidant it is a good deal for you? You guessed it. It’s not even close to a good deal.

How we compared the AGL Seniors Discount Plan

We applied average usage for a 3 people household as per the Government website in different towns across the 4 States. For Victoria, NSW and SA we show electricity and gas, while for Queensland we show electricity only as gas is less common in QLD.

There are two plans, AGL Seniors Essentials Plus (2 years) or AGL Basics (1 year) with lower prices for AGL Essentials Plus. The AGL Essentials Plan is marketed as being over 2 years, but as there is no lock-in contract, it’s a cheaper plan as you can leave at any time without any cost. In South Australia the two plans are named as Essentials and Essentials saver, and we used the cheaper plan for comparison.

AGL make it sound attractive: up to $400 cash back over 2 years $50 of credit when you sign up. The deal varies by State. All States have a signup credit of $25 for each of electricity and gas account. Victoria and NSW have a quarterly $25 credit. QLD have a credit of $20 per quarter. In South Australia, there is no ongoing credit at all.

Our period of comparison is a single year. The AGL promotional material focusses on the total cash-back. However their plan is better viewed as a series of quarters where you get a cash credit at the start of each quarter. Essentially within the year you get $25 per account signup credit and 3 quarterly credits from $0, $20 to $25 depending on which State you live in. Our savings calculation takes into account these credits, namely NSW & VIC $100 credit, QLD $85 credit, SA $25 credit. We do not include the 4th quarter of credit, instead we treat this as a sign up credit for the second year of the plan. However if we had included it, there would be little effect on the results.

Sounding to be a good deal can be different from being a good deal. We need to know if AGL have just pushed up their rates in order to fund the cash credits.

Summary of results

The AGL Seniors Plus plan is an expensive way to get your electricity or gas. Over the 4 States, it costs $437 more than the cheapest price.
In the 3 States where it is sponsored by the State Governments, Victoria, NSW and Queensland, it costs $380 more than the cheapest price.

Governments need to stop exploiting Seniors

Alan Rattray, the founder of Energy Umpire said
“AGL have been duping Seniors card holders for years. For Governments to endorse the AGL Seniors Plan in this way is really disgraceful”
“It sums up the what is wrong with the energy market where it seems everyone is on the payroll and taking their cut and even Governments are on the same gravy train.”

Get the Cheapest price for Seniors

Check the results for your State below. But if you just want the cheapest price go to Energy Umpire now. We compare all energy plans and calculate how much you could save. Most importantly, Energy Umpire does not take commissions or inducements of any kind from energy companies. It’s free to find out how much you could save and our charges start at $10 to get the cheapest price. It’s easy and quick to check your savings and switch. Ready to check how much you can save? It’s quick and easy.

How much can I save per year?

Average savings from the examples below are shown here

AGL Seniors Discount in Victoria

Until recently, the Victorian Government sponsored AGL and was paid a commission by AGL for its support. Three years ago we began a campaign to expose the behaviour of AGL and the State Government (AGL may be a Proud Senior but are they Over the Hill?).  We showed that a customer in Warrnambool was paying from $274 more for electricity and gas than they should be.

Then two years ago we stepped up our campaign (Victorian Government & AGL Seniors Card Offer dupes Seniors) because the AGL Seniors offer had become outrageously expensive. We showed that customers were paying from $434 to $598 more for electricity and gas than they could be across 5 towns in Victoria.

Finally we got a win for Seniors and the Victorian Government stopped sponsoring the AGL Seniors offer. Undeterred, AGL continued to promote their sub-standard offer to Seniors.

Unfortunately for Seniors, this year, 2021, the Government have again taken money from AGL to promote an inferior AGL Seniors plan. Frankly as a Senior Victorian myself, I find this quite outrageous. How can the Victorian Government sponsor a Plan that exploits Seniors? The hypocrisy is stark as the Government recently paid customers a $50 bill busting bonus to use their comparison site. They are now paying Concession Card holders a bonus of $250. Just by switching to the cheapest plan, most of these card holders could save much more, at no cost to the State.

AGL Seniors Deal in 5 towns in Victoria

Seniors in 5 towns in Victoria could save $303/year more on their electricity alone by instead choosing the cheapest provider. On gas the savings were $202. Overall savings are $505. Nowhere was the AGL Seniors offer the cheapest.

FitzroyWarrnamboolSunburyCranbourneMalvern EastAverage
Electricity$275$237$317$282$404$303
Gas$159$301$194$159$194$202
Total$434$538$511$441$598$505

AGL Seniors Discount in NSW

Seniors have a right to expect that the AGL Seniors Plus Plan is highly attractive, especially being sponsored by the NSW State Government. The Sydney Morning Herald questioned why the government of NSW provided a ‘new marketing arm’ to AGL.

Seniors in NSW could save $251/year on electricity alone if they switched to the cheapest provider instead of AGL. How could the NSW Government support such a second rate energy plan?

Mosman Mount DruittPort MacquarieAverage
Electricity$259$237$257$251
Gas$115$115$0$77
Total$374$352$257$328

AGL Seniors Discount in Queensland

Seniors have a right to expect that the AGL Seniors Plus Planis highly attractive, especially being sponsored by the Qld State Government.

It sounds attractive that AGL Senior offering $85 bonus cash back in the first year in QLD, however, the seniors in the Energex area would still pay $301/year more on electricity by instead choosing the cheapest provider. We didn’t find a single case where the AGL Seniors offer was the cheapest. Why would the Queensland Government lend their name to support AGL in exploiting Seniors?

ElectricityAnytimeTime of useAverage
Sunshine coast
(no controlled load)
$155$385$270
Ipswich
(with controlled load)
$295$367$331
Average$225$376$301

AGL Seniors Discount in South Australia

Seniors in South Australia would be disappointed that AGL offers different plans for seniors without any cash back bonus in the billing period.

Seniors on the AGL Seniors Plan pay $680 more than the cheapest plan in SA. It’s extraordinary that AGL could put their name to such an appallingly expensive plan.

AnytimeTime of useAverage
Electricity$314$436$375
Gas$305$305$305
Total$619$741$680