NewsEnergy companies on notice as the ACCC moves in
Energy companies on notice as the ACCC moves in

Energy companies on notice as the ACCC moves in

Finally, the pollies in Canberra are listening to what our members and other Australians have been saying for a decade: power bills are far too high. 

PRIME Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced this week an Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) review of retail electricity prices because the markets don’t appear to be operating as effectively as they could be.

The Prime Minister made specific mention of a report by the Grattan Institute who have indicated that excessive profit margins are being made by retailers in the electricity market.

The terms of reference for the ACCC will be key cost drivers of power bills, barriers to consumers getting good offers and whether retailer behaviour is preventing competition.

Click here to see the current exclusive Energy offers for our members, which can save an average households hundreds of dollars a year.

Click here to hear the interview with Tony Wood from the Grattan Institute on the Daily Drive Show

Joel Gibson from One Big Switch called the review a “shot across the bow for electricity retailers”.

Joel told us on the Daily Drive show that one of the biggest drivers is over investment in poles and wires (gold plating) where the owners of the poles and wires have spent a fortune upgrading them and they get paid according to how much they spend so they spent up big.

In a poll of Fiftyup Club members we found that around 70% said it’s confusing and difficult to compare energy products. Any market where 70% are finding it tough it must affect competition.

The other area of concern is the practice of quietly defaulting customers to the most expensive plan once their 12 month cheap offer has expired. In the UK, you automatically default to a mid-range product.

The ACCC is expected to report initially within 6 months and finally by July 2018 but in the meantime it does pay to review your bill and stick up for yourself.

Click Here To Hear Joel Gibson’s Interview

Treasurer Scott Morrison said the inquiry would provide better information on what was actually driving electricity prices and the ACCC had the powers and skills necessary to “go to the heart of these questions. Beyond that it will look at existing cost structures and margins and review these against the contracts offered to consumers and businesses.”

ACCC Chair Rod Sims said electricity prices had nearly doubled on top of inflation in most parts of Australia over the last decade based on a variety of different factors.

Mr Sims said it would be important to understand and examine these different factors in each state and territory, as part of the new inquiry.

“The ACCC is also keen to look at the structure of the retail industry, the nature of competition, the representation of prices to consumers and other factors influencing the price paid by Australians for electricity,” he said.

“We enter this inquiry with an open mind and look forward to developing recommendations which can make a difference for Australian households and businesses.”

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Energy companies on notice as the ACCC moves in

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Dennis from NSW commented:

Paul Keating started this rubbish we should be paying for electricity from the producers not from companies who do not produce anything except exorbitant profits for themselves. All they do is is buy at wholesale prices and extort the general public. 

Someone from SA commented:

Most of us realize the club has for sometime, had a very limited range of topics. We seem to be discussing, branches and leaves topics rather than the root topics from whence those branches and leaves originate. The topics are in the main, variations on about four or 5 themes most of which guide us to some offer on which the club makes a commission. No problem about that as the club is up front about it and it does cost money to run the club. Now however we are also restricted to topics from one privileged person. Now Kayley researches each topic well and writes well, however the figures she gives from personal experience indicate an income which, by the standards of many, allows a life style and expenditures that do not relate to the budget of many in the club. Whilst these articles are important as a part of the information imparted by the club it would be nice if we could have another writer perhaps retired and not so well off, yet still capable of researching and writing from a perspective not covered by Kayley . This should be achieved at a very reasonable cost as the person would regard this not as a main source of income but rather a small supplementary income. In fact a low income should be a requirement for the position as they would be experiencing a life style similar to many members. Now this may not lead to an immediate increase of commissions, however it could help to keep the interest those members who once logged in, and joined in, more frequently than they now do. In the long term this should prove beneficial, because as peoples needs and incomes fluctuate so do their purchases. I had a monthly market stall for nearly two decades and one of my favorite sayings was "There is only type one person I know I will never, ever sell to, and that is the person that does not walk through the market gates". So be it with web sites. 

margaret from NSW commented:

Dear God it has happened yet again this time and I have been moved from NSW to SA.The above comment came from Margaret of NSW. It really is "goin' well ain't it ay' 

Nick from NSW replied to margaret:

Hi Margaret, bit the above anonymous comment is from you? I can get this changed to the correct state with more info...K 

margaret from NSW replied to Nick:

Thank you Nick. I have changed to correct name and state. I simply forgot to check at top of page to see that the correct information was there. I do know I must do this every time I log in as I have had so many different names and the occasional sex change bestowed upon me over my time with the club, that I really am aware of the need for vigilance. Thanks again. 

Someone from NSW commented:

Hi there, thank you for your feedback and we're more than happy to consider submissions from our members if they would like to write something. Many times I have reached out to members for permission to publish comments but these requests are usually declined. If you'd like to write something by all means send it through! Kayley 

Liz from NSW commented:

I remember when Baird was elected in NSW he 100% promised that electricity prices would not go up when selling off and privatising our power!? 

George from NSW replied to Liz:

Presume you mean Baird the guy who is now earning between $2-$5 Million working for a Bank? Time to move forward with a Banking inquiry too! 

ian from NSW commented:

another enquiry !..but nothing ever happens..just more taxpayers money going down the toilet, same as the petrol enquiry and all the others that were going to give the long suffering consumer a break.ACCC might as well not exist. Ian nsw 

ian from NSW commented:

another enquiry !..but nothing ever happens..just more taxpayers money going down the toilet, same as the petrol enquiry and all the others that were going to give the long suffering consumer a break.ACCC might as well not exist. Ian nsw 

Brian from NSW commented:

Yet another "inquiry" into, what is it this time ?? Thought "privatization" was going to fix everything !! Perhaps the previously blind can now see what a disaster it was. Over investment in poles and wires !!. What a load of hogwash. The fact is the system was so run down and neglected after years of raping every cent out of it by successive governments going back to the Grenier years that most of OUR equipment was on par with the Ark ! Do people not remember the massive substation and cable fires that were common around 10 years ago ? The electricity distributors were only trying to catch up and bring the system into a reasonable state of capability, reliability and safety with their "gold plating" Governments are very quick to label and blame anyone and everyone but themselves when it comes to deflecting their incompetence in managing our incredibly valuable and vital power supply. We also notice the commentators who know little to nothing are ever ready jump on the publicity seeking blame train. Does anyone else notice that years ago power was affordable, reasonably reliable for the time whilst also being a great public asset that provided decent wages and jobs for our children. In contrast today we see rampant corporate greed ingrained into our power structure with it being run into the ground once again. We don't need another "years long" inquiry. Just get rid of the leeches and make power a public, non profit essential service that does the very simple job of supplying adequate power at a reasonable price. 

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