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Energy Consumers Australia backs PM’s intervention on electricity retail and affordability

Energy Consumers Australia CEO Rosemary Sinclair has reiterated calls for strong and urgent action from energy retailers to tackle high electricity costs and poor outcomes for households and small businesses, ahead of their meeting with the Prime Minister.

Ms Sinclair said the community expected very clear and specific commitments from energy retailers following their meeting in Canberra.

“We are deeply concerned about the impact that surging electricity prices are having on households and small businesses,” Ms Sinclair said.

“The Government has the Finkel review findings and the ACCC inquiry into electricity prices is deep into its work, but industry needs to put its shoulder to the wheel as well because we can’t afford to wait to deliver better value to consumers.

“Electricity prices have doubled in the past ten years and these latest increases are a real threat to household budgets and the economic viability of many small businesses, right now.

“We have given energy retailers a range of options, based on several years’ research by a range of energy consumer advocates, all of which have been put forward in Energy Consumers Australia’s submission to the ACCC review into electricity prices.” Available here.

“One of the steps which can be taken now, is for retailers to proactively reach out to their customers to help them move onto the best deal for them, and provide advice on how to manage their consumption and costs, Ms Sinclair said.

“Consumers are currently defaulted onto higher price offers without proper notice and it is highly likely that many consumers are paying hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars more for their electricity services than they need to be paying.”

Ms Sinclair said issues around price discrimination, and comparing offers have also been highlighted by the Australian Energy Market Commission and the Australian Energy Regulator in recent reports. They are also being looked at in the current ACCC review.

She said consumers were impatient for a response from energy retailers who were ranked lower than the banks by consumers in Energy Consumers Australia’s consumer survey.

“We are seeing the impact of worsening energy affordability in our research and hearing it directly from consumers.”

Energy Consumers Australia’s latest Energy Consumer Sentiment Survey is available here.

Rosemary Sinclair is available for interview.

Media contact: Tim O’Halloran 0409 059 617

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