Media Release from Queensland Consumers Association
The Prime Minister’s meeting with energy retailer CEOs on 9 August resulted in some actions and ideas aimed mainly at assisting consumers to make better informed decisions about energy contracts and retailers.
It is pleasing that these included many that the Queensland Consumers Association (QCA) and other consumer advocates have been proposing for years, including letting customers know in advance about the expiry of benefits such as discounts (already required in Queensland) and providing clearer and more comparable information about the cost of energy contracts.
Retailers are also to have further discussions with government and regulators about implementation, and the development of other measures.
QCA considers these proposals worthwhile but, as indicated in our media release (see link below), it is essential that the consumer movement is able to participate fully in this process. This is needed to ensure that any measures are effective and take full account of consumer needs and behaviours.
QCA is also calling for additional measures including requiring energy retailers to:
- Compete on, and advertise, actual costs to consumers not discounts off inflated base prices;
- Charge late payment penalties more fairly (for example with an interest charge related to the time the bill is unpaid not with punitive and unfair loss of large pay-on-time percentage discounts), and to only recover actual extra costs.
Click the following link for the full media release: QCA power MR 9 august 2017
Ian Jarratt, Queensland Consumers Association