Australian news, and some related international items

Energy watchdog warns Victorians against misleading gas and electricity deals

Households being lured into misleading electricity and gas deals: energy watchdog, The Age, 15 Apr 17  Adam Morton  The head of Victoria’s energy watchdog has warned that households are being lured into deals with the promise of large discounts unaware that companies can ratchet up prices at any time.

Ron Ben-David, the chairman of the Essential Services Commission, says discounts of up to 40 per cent offered by electricity and gas retailers are rarely locked in, and called for a dramatic rethink to make power bills fairer for consumers…….

With Victoria holding a bipartisan review of the retail electricity and gas markets headed by former Labor deputy premier John Thwaites and ex-Liberal cabinet minister Terry Mulder, Dr Ben-David is urging reforms to force more effective competition between companies.

Should those steps fail, he says Parliament should consider the “nuclear option” – starting to re-regulate electricity pricing – just eight years after the state became the first in the country to fully de-regulate.

Power bills have increased dramatically in recent years, with retail margins playing a significant part in the rise in Victoria in particular. Several submissions to the review suggest retailers are making large profits and vulnerable households are paying the highest prices.

Last month, think tank the Grattan Institute found up to 43 per cent of household power bills goes into the pockets of electricity retailers as profits.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull ordered an Australian Competition and Consumer Commission inquiry, and Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews appointed himself chair of a new cabinet taskforce on energy and promised to keep the state’s electricity supply “as affordable, resilient and secure” as possible……..

The energy review is due to report to the government by May 31.


April 17, 2017 - Posted by | energy, Victoria

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