New laws aimed at fairer power prices for consumers

The ACCC has released draft guidelines setting out guidance on how electricity retailers and generators should comply with three new laws which are designed to reduce the price of electricity for consumers.

The draft guidelines, which were released for consultation today, provide examples and information about the new laws, which were introduced by the Treasury Laws Amendment (Prohibiting Energy Market Misconduct) Act 2019, and come into effect on 10 June 2020. 

Household electricity bills fall, but affordability still a concern

The average annual bill for households in the National Electricity Market fell in 2018–19 compared with the previous year, by $65 or 4 per cent, the latest ACCC electricity markets report has found.

But while average household bills fell to $1509 in 2018–19, households were still paying about 20 per cent ($254) more than in 2007–08, and the average price for a unit of electricity drawn from the grid was about 45 per cent higher in real terms.

Proposal to authorise big box retailers to negotiate for cheaper electricity prices

The ACCC has issued a draft determination proposing to authorise members of the Large Format Retail Association (LFRA) to jointly tender and negotiate with electricity suppliers for cheaper power prices.

The ACCC has also granted interim authorisation to the LFRA, allowing members to begin the initial stages of the tendering and negotiation process while the ACCC completes its assessment.

“LFRA and its members want to jointly tender so they can pay less for their electricity,” ACCC Commissioner Stephen Ridgeway said.

Savings for those on default electricity contracts, but more needs to be done

Nearly a million households and business customers on standing offers, or default contracts, in NSW, South Australia, south-east Queensland and Victoria have already seen automatic savings to their electricity bills.

Average savings on standing offers since the electricity pricing reforms came into effect on 1 July 2019 amount to between $130 and $430 a year for households, according to the ACCC’s August 2019 electricity market report, published today.

ACCC to enforce new rules for electricity retailers

The ACCC will be enforcing new rules that will benefit most electricity consumers by both limiting standing offer electricity prices and imposing new advertising rules on electricity providers under the new Electricity Retail Code. This code comes into force today in South East Queensland, New South Wales and South Australia.

From today, electricity retailers have various obligations under the code including:

Guide for energy retailers on new Retail Code

Energy retailers in South East Queensland, New South Wales and South Australia must comply with obligations under a new Electricity Retail Code from July 1 this year, including by advertising electricity plans in a way that makes it easier for consumers to compare prices and offers.

A new ACCC guide released today details how retailers in these regions should apply the new code in relation to their customers.

Click Energy to pay $900,000 for misleading claims

The Federal Court has ordered penalties of $900,000 against Amaysim Energy Pty Ltd (trading as Click Energy) for making false or misleading marketing claims about potential discounts and savings available to Victorian and Queensland consumers, in breach of the Australian Consumer Law.

Between October 2017 and March 2018, Click Energy told consumers in Victoria and South East Queensland they could get discounts of between 7 and 29 per cent under its market energy offers, if they paid their bills on time.