Turnbull shines light on power companies

Malcolm Turnbull will sit down with the chiefs of Australia’s major electricity companies next week to discuss rising power prices.


The prime minister earlier this year met with gas company chiefs which led to intervention in the industry which the government hopes will keep a lid on escalating gas prices.

Mr Turnbull said his letter to eight bosses the rise in power prices has put “serious strain on Australian households and businesses”.

As well, disconnections had risen and more needed to be done by power companies to help those suffering hardship from steep bills.

“Since families are feeling price pressures now, it is important to ensure no family pays a cent more for electricity than it needs to,” Mr Turnbull wrote in his invitation letter.

“I am particularly concerned by reports that consumers are being pushed from discounted market rates to higher priced standard contracts or non-discounted plans often without realising it.”

Those invited to the meeting include Energy Australia, Origin Energy, AGL, Snowy Hydro, Momentum Energy, Alinta Energy, Simply Energy and the Australian Energy Council.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is due to release its interim report on competition in the electricity sector in September and a final report in June 2018.

However the Australian Energy Market Commission has found 47 per cent of residential users and 54 per cent of small businesses have not switched electricity retailer or plan in the last five years.

Mr Turnbull said one reason for people not shopping around for a better deal is a “lack of appropriate information” on costs and consumption.

The Australian Energy Regulator recently found households could save $900, $1400 and $1500 respectively in Queensland, NSW and South Australia by moving from the worst to the best offer.

In Victoria the figure was just over $800.