Posted August 09, 2017 10:28:43
“Ensure no family pays a cent more for electricity than it needs to,” is Malcolm Turnbull’s message to power companies today.
The Prime Minister called the power companies to Canberra this morning for a meeting to direct them to do more to help people with their bills.
He has challenged the companies over reports consumers go from discounted power contracts to higher-priced rates without being told.
“Australia is blessed with abundant energy so it is simply not good enough that some families and businesses cannot always afford to turn on their lights, heating and equipment,” Mr Turnbull wrote to the companies when he ordered them to today’s meeting.
He has called for urgent action from energy retailers to make sure people know what the bill will be after a discount period ends.
A report by the Energy Markets Commission found consumers are paying significantly more than they need to, partly because they don’t get the information they need.
Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg said the Government could bring prices down.
The Energy regulator found households could make big savings if they were prepared to switch provider or change contracts.
It said there would be savings of up to $900 a year for Queenslanders, $1,400 for people in New South Wales and $1,500 for South Australians if they switched from the worst offer available to the best.
Mr Turnbull threatened the Government could use regulation to force companies to do more.
Greens MP Adam Bandt argued reregulation was the best way to drive down prices.
He dismissed the effectiveness of trying to talk to the companies at a meeting.
“Simply jawboning the retailers won’t help,” Mr Bandt said.
“States and territories, where regulation of prices is still in place, generally have lower prices.
“It is time Malcolm Turnbull put the rest of the states on notice that they need to act and that if they won’t, he will.
“Deregulating electricity prices has failed. It is time the Government stepped in and capped electricity prices.
“The role of Government is to act in the best interests of the people and it’s time to admit that competition has failed to deliver electricity that is cheap and clean.”