This is obviously a hot topic with significant increases in charges in recent times.

In our case this has not been assisted with our experiences with Origin Energy.  We had cause to check on the rates they were charging as they seemed higher than what we had contracted for a couple of years ago.  In essence we were then on a "plan" that offered lower rates and discounts.

On checking the bills more closely, we realized we had been taken off the plan, and were paying higher rates without discount.  Off to Origin Energy to query how this could be - to be advised:
"The plan was only for 12 months so we automatically remove you from it after then, unless you contact us first".

After much discussion about why we received no notice ("a lot of our customers complain about that!"), we finally managed to negotiate a backdated agreement for a reduction for one year (out of the two), which reduced the charges by around 30% for the period!

The lessons here seem to be:

- If you are on a "plan" check you really still are
- If you are not consider the discount that may be available to go on a plan
- If you have been "mucked around" stick to your guns and keep asking for a higher level supervisor. It seems to work!
- If you are on a plan put in a reminder to check at least every year, that you do not have to "renew", and that there may be better plans available
- There are plenty of electricity "brokers" who will shop around for the best deal for you

To Origin's credit they eventually came to the party.  To their discredit the system is set up so that you fall out of plans without realising it.  And it takes persistence and checking to get a result, even after they "admit" fault.  In addition we had to contact them 3 times to get the agreed corrections done properly.  

So it can be time consuming - but a potential 30% saving can be worth some effort.