Smaller electricity retailers are finding it harder to manage their exposure to high and volatile wholesale electricity prices, and declining competition in the retail market could further increase energy prices for consumers and businesses, the ACCC warns in its latest Electricity Market Inquiry Report.
The ACCC has released its latest Electricity Markets Inquiry report, including an update to reflect current market conditions that shows electricity price rises have been significant and unprecedented in recent weeks.
Energy retailer CovaU Pty Ltd has paid $33,300 in penalties after the ACCC issued it with three infringement notices for alleged contraventions of the Electricity Retail Code.
The ACCC has reasonable grounds to believe that CovaU contravened the requirements of the Code by advertising the prices of three residential electricity plans on its website without stating a percentage difference to the comparison price set by the government, between 27 June and 19 July 2021.
Cheaper wholesale prices have reduced the cost of supplying electricity to households to the lowest it has been in eight years, and retailers have started to pass on the savings to consumers, the ACCC’s latest electricity market report reveals.
The Federal Court has declared by consent that Sumo Power Pty Ltd (Sumo) made false or misleading representations in selling electricity plans to Victorian consumers and ordered it to pay $1.2 million in penalties, and to pay consumer redress to affected consumers.
Sumo admitted that between June and December 2018, it had misled consumers about how much they would pay for their electricity if they switched to Sumo, in breach of the Australian Consumer Law.
Major falls in wholesale electricity costs and new laws requiring retailers to pass on cuts are likely to result in lower electricity bills in 2021, despite residential consumption rising by 10 per cent and household bills increasing by 7 per cent in 2020.