Aussie households to be offered better, cheaper energy deals

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Properties can be seen along the coastline in the Sydney suburb of Clovelly, Australia, July 19, 2015. Reuters/David Gray

Aussie households can expect to be contacted by their electricity providers to be offered better, cheaper deals on their power bills. Up to two million Aussie households can get access to this offer.

The deal was reached during a second meeting between the government and Australia’s largest energy retailers. It is part of the Turnbull government’s step to cut energy prices for both households and businesses.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said in a letter sent to retail electricity chief executives that companies needed to be more transparent about fees, News.com.au reports. After a meeting, retailers reportedly agreed to alert customers when their discount power plans were about to expire and provide estimates of how much extra they would need to pay. “What we are securing is ("the companies") commitment to make sure their customers know whether they are on the right plan,” the Aussie leader told FOX FM.

Retailers have already confirmed commitments to ensure that an estimated 1 million families on expired discount offers are contacted and directed to the best electricity plan for them. On Wednesday, retailers reportedly agreed to contact another 1 million customers on “standing offers.”

Up to 2 million Aussie households will have the opportunity to transition to more affordable rates, reducing their annual power bill. Fifty percent of households have not moved contracts in the past five years, even though savings can be as high as $1,500.

The latest measures are part of the government’s efforts to improve competition and make energy prices more affordable. Companies are expected to move towards marketing their offers in dollar terms at the urging of the government. Switching between different providers may also speed up and more flexible billing can be expected as a result.

Furthermore, the government secured a commitment from retailers to make consumption and payment information available to consumers, working with the Australian Energy Regulator on a QR code, or equivalent, on their bill. The government recognises the support retailers give through their hardship programs. Both agreed to spot and share best practice elements and identify potential improvements.

“It's our commitment to ensure, working with you, that no Australians pay any more for energy than they need to,” a media release published at pm.gov.au reads. Turnbull said some Aussie households are not on a suitable plan or their discounted offers have expired and they haven’t been told, so some end up paying more.

AFP news agency/YouTube

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