Government vows to put pressure on energy retailers

Hume MP Angus Taylor said consumers deserve fair and affordable energy plans. Photo: supplied.
Hume MP Angus Taylor said consumers deserve fair and affordable energy plans. Photo: supplied.

Hume MP Angus Taylor has vowed to put pressure on energy retailers in lieu of extreme price hikes. 

Mr Taylor said customers in the Highlands deserve fairer, more affordable plans. 

“Hume families need affordable and reliable electricity. But the energy retailers need to do their part,” he said.

Mr Taylor’s pledge follows on from Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s criticism of energy companies over failing to inform customers when their discounted power contracts are switched to higher-priced rates.

As the rules stand, retailers are not obliged to notify customers.

The government speculates there could be “millions” of Australians who initially signed up to discounted power plans, but were then shifted to more expensive rates without realising.

“Customers deserve to know when the bill is changing and by how much,” Mr Taylor said.

“We also need to make it easier and less confronting for customers to compare plans – to compare like with like.

“The Australian Energy Regulator has found the difference between the best and worst offers available could be worth more than $1000 a year to households.

“So when one considers that about half of all households have not switched retailers or contracts in the past five years, it’s easy to see why greater customer awareness can lead to lower energy bills.”

He also emphasised the importance of enabling customers to comfortably switch retailers, as well as giving them greater access to data and standardising the presentation of information across providers. 

“We’ve already made significant progress to increase domestic supplies of gas, reduce network costs and increase market competition, but there is still much work to do,” Mr Taylor said.