Energy companies gouging consumers

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Recent research out of the St Vincent de Paul Society has revealed that, as a result of deregulation in Victoria, the retail competition margin of gas and electricity costs has risen to $600 per customer per annum and is now the largest component of the energy bill. The research also found that just 11 per cent of your power bill is attributable to your actual electricity usage.

“We have an energy retail market that ensures customers are paying over the odds for an essential service unless they annually dedicate time to compare energy plans and switch retailer,” the report states.

The study found that people who did not actively seek better deals from alternative providers were the ones charged the highest premiums for no other reason than “because they can” according to Gavin Dufty, policy and research manager with the St Vincent de Paul Society.

Finally, the research also revealed that you should be looking to compare prices and potentially shift companies every 12 months, because the majority of providers bring you in at a low rate for a year on a competitive contract before your rates start to increase.

Mr Dufty said that instead of blaming customers for not shopping around for the best deal, the market model needs to be addressed now.

Read more from www.thenewdaily.com.au
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Opinion: Time for action on price gouging

It’s hard to swallow the excessive retail competition margins that are being added to energy bills, especially for any Australian living in a state where energy has been privatised. The idea that it’s up to the consumer to compare and switch providers every 12 months just to get the best deal is unacceptable in this day and age.

The energy market is not one which you can choose to leave – everyone needs to purchase energy. Consumers are currently being pushed up against a wall by providers and given very little choice but to pay what they are being charged, as is the case in several states around Australia, not just Victoria.

It’s time for a re-think in each state or territory with a deregulated energy system. Competitive pressure needs to be placed on the market and an immediate review of the current retail-pricing framework needs to take place now.

What do you think? Are we paying too much for energy in deregulated states? Do you compare and switch companies every 12 months? Have you installed solar panels? If so, what has been your experience? Has it been worth the capital outlay?

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Written by Drew

Starting out as a week of work experience in 2005 while studying his Bachelor of Business at Swinburne University, Drew has never left his post and has been with the company ever since, working on the websites digital needs. Drew has a passion for all things technology which is only rivalled for his love of all things sport (watching, not playing).
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86 Comments

Total Comments: 86
  1. 0
    0

    No????? I would never have thought……
    Let’s get serious Drew. Greg Hunt routinely threw himself in front of the cameras exclaiming “You have high electricity prices because of the Carbon Tax” before (and after) the last election. On attaining office and repeal the Carbon Tax (for their mates in the coal industry) NOTHING CHANGED other than the price of electricity continuing to go up. It should have dropped by more than half. It didn’t! Please explain.
    So here we are with high electricity prices, a fraudulent government and a new PM wanting to be re-elected because Tony Abbott is no longer PM. Personally I would actually vote for this government if it honoured all of its pre-election promises rather than having broken almost every one and now moving on as though nothing has happened.
    We all need to keep the rage and punish any politician who behaves dishonestly. Gillard was sent off with ONE lie, so what are we going to do about this crew’s multitude of INTENTIONAL lies. Out!!!!

    • 0
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      Here we go again. When the carbon tax was repealed energy prices were reduced across the board. If you cannot be bothered to read your unit costs and the energy company’s mail outs then don’t blame the government mick. Of course the prices have increased since, but it would have been greater with the carbon tax. Just to be clear, I live in Victoria and my supplier is Origin.

      I also have installed solar panels, installed when the rebate was 8c per kWh. We installed them to use free electricity during the day, as we changed our lifestyle so that most electricity was used during the daylight hours. This has proved to be a substantial saving that is overlooked by people who only consider the rebate as contributing to the payback.

    • 0
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      Mind you, I still think that we are being overcharged for electricity. A mandatory renewable charge does not help.

    • 0
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      I can’t believe we can get this garbage, just a week after we found the Qld & NSW governments are demanding their electricity generators give an extra billion, yes billion dollars each to their respective governments. Perhaps this author needs to take the ideological blinkers off occasionally, & look at the facts.

      It is the governments which still own their electrical generators that are profiteering. Some may say they need the money to provide services, others know they want it to fund vote buying, & bloated bureaucracies.

      It would be nice to see you lay the blame where it belongs occasionally, & the Qld LABOR government is the worst of the profiteers.

  2. 0
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    Where I live,North Queensland, we only have one company,Ergon, so no competition. People should look at their bill and notice how much they are paying each quarter for Service Fee. Ours has from $36 a qtr to $93 a qtr in 7 years. Also we now have a “Meter Services Charge “? of $4.45 a quarter. (PLEASE EXPLAIN?)

  3. 0
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    We live on the Sunshine Coast and our electricity supplier is AGL. In August last year their supply charge jumped from $0.5021 to $0.8341 per kWh (a 60%+ increase). Reason: GREED. What are the people at the ACCC and Greg Hunt being paid for?

    • 0
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      I Agree, what are they being paid for.

    • 0
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      I live in Deception Bay, (Just down from the Sunshine Coast , for non Q’l’ders ) and I am With Lumo, a Victorian company. My price per kWh is 29.40 cents, and Service to property charge 55.42 cents per day, inclusive of GST. I think it’s time you changed suppliers Fast Eddie. My service charge went up by 51% in August this year. I heard a guy on the ABC cereal box on the breakfast programme mentioning that his service charge as gone to $1.12 per day. He is with Origin,– that came as no surprise to me.

    • 0
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      I’m with Ergon. Pre 1/7/2015 the Tariff 11 charge was $0.25378 per kWh.
      Tariff 33 was $0.18454 per kWh and the Service Fee is $0.9175 per day. Excludes GST.

      Post 1/7/2015 Tariff 11 dropped to $0.22238. Tariff 33 increased to $0.18872. My Service Fee is now $1.17 per day.

    • 0
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      Don’t where your prices are coming from frank, the rates on Ergon’s website are 3c more.
      and you are ALL Forgetting the massive increase to the fixed “per day electricity supply charge” (from ~90c to ~130c per day).

    • 0
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      FrankC, we have had solar panels for six years, haven’t paid an electricity bill during that time, and have received credits in the vicinity of $4,500 besides. Should AGL continue to increase charges disproportionately to other suppliers a switch in companies will be in our thoughts, but not at the moment.

    • 0
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      If you live in Queensland you would be aware that if you have a solar system then you are getting almost nil rebate and your excess power goes to the grid for all but free. This is the real tragedy and smells of big business monopoly.

    • 0
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      mick,I think you have been eating too many trumpet lillies, mate. Your info is totally wrong, I can assure you, as can anyone else in Qld with solar panels.

    • 0
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      Fast Eddie, don’t take everyone to be in the same situation as yourself. The rebate Mick gets depends on how long he has had solar and who his supplier is. For instance if he is with Origin and has only had the panels installed in the last few years he might be getting 6c per KW if lucky and that can earn him a whopping $16 to $20 a quarter – depending on how many panels he has. When you look at those figures against your $450 power bill it is almost nil.

    • 0
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      Gra, if you would have taken the time to read mick’s comment and knew anything about the discussion you would realise what he has said is an untruth, has no substance whatsoever about the electricity rebate in Qld, and that he clearly doesn’t know what he is talking about, like “nil rebate” and “excess power goes to the grid for all but free”. He wouldn’t have a clue, and neither do you.

    • 0
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      I know someone living in QLD who gets $1,000 cheque from Ergon every quarter. I hate it when he brings out his latest bill (credit note), which he usually does after we have had a glass of wine. That’s when I told him one day I will stop paying for your greedy lifestyle! 🙂

    • 0
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      I certainly wouldn’t be associating with anyone who gloats like that about money. What does he do after the second glass of wine (if you are still around him after the first), bring out his bank statement?

    • 0
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      Robin7 they may include GST?

  4. 0
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    What is the ACCC doing to bring the electricity companies to account ??? As usual… nothing.

  5. 0
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    This is another dismal example of the failure of the free market system. The privatisation of public assets is a sell out by government who forget they exist to provide for the needs of society. The populace didn’t want privatisation. It was sold to us by long gone talking head politicians that the government was broke and we needed money to balance the budget. A prime example is the disposal of Telstra where that public asset was disposed of by the government accepting bits of paper currency for which it has a monopoly to create …. it’s crazy! Now we have the semi public NBN competing with the privatised Telstra for broadband capacity utilising the assets society paid for in the first place. Doesn’t sound like a smart deal to me John Howard. You’re a silly old man.

    With regards to energy, there is an alternative with solar panels and soon to be released storage capacity for around $6000 for an off grid solution. That’s a ten year payback and the energy oligarchs are doing their best to stop it happening. Wonder how that will work out?

    • 0
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      When batteries arrive and come down in price I AM OUT. Cannot wait to send the dishonest politicians and their business buddies packing. It may take a few years though.

    • 0
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      You can drop your energy cost significantly if you allow your energy provider to use your roof as a solar farm.

    • 0
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      I agree Frank. I recently put up a 3KW system on my roof, and judging by the figures, I am drawing 3-4 kW a day, compared to almost 11kW per day prior to Solar install. At the end of the quarter, I worked it out that I should get a cheque for around $85. Beats paying $260. (Yeah, I live in Qld )

    • 0
      0

      FrankC, you are doing very well indeed. Did you pay for the installation? QLD, beautiful one day perfectly sunny the next! 🙂

    • 0
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      I’ve got a solar farm and solar hot water which I have paid back more than twice over so electricity cost is now zero.

    • 0
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      Work out what you get for EXCESS electricity fed back into the grid and then onsold for around 50 cents to other consumers. And I assume YOU paid for the system????

    • 0
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      I currently get back 60c gross feed in which has more twice paid for my system. I also have a second solar system that powers my house during the day. It’s all set up to convert to batteries if required.

    • 0
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      Without the solar I would have bills in excess of $700 per quarter with all the pumps etc running.

    • 0
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      Frank, I paid for the installation of a 3.2kW system for $3990 from Solargain, who gave me the Renesola panels I wanted, plus The Fronius inverter. The next day I looked at the little screen on the inverter, and it showed I was getting 3.07 kW from the panels. I was a happy chappy. I am getting 6 cents/kW fed ionto the grid, my son gets 52 cents/kW because he had his installed around 2 years ago, and he is locked in to that.. I did this, in the event of my death, my wife would be able to afford the power on her ‘very generous’ widows pension , but it looks like she would be receiving a cheque each quarter.

    • 0
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      Well that’s ok FrankC, seems like a good investment. I was approached recently by a company which is installing up to 5kW systems. The system is financed with the power company having an interest. The householder pays nothing other than the quarterly power bill, which is around 30% cheaper. The system is maintained and serviced by the power company. At the end of the term ownership passes to the householder. I can see a lot of people getting involved with this.

  6. 0
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    This exact scenario was warned about and has been repeatedly warned about since the heady days of ‘privatisation’. I’ve been saying,in simple terms and for a very long time, that it is cheaper to feed one monster than feed a Hydra.

    The root cause of this disaster for the Australian consumer is privatisation, which is, always was, and always will be a total and unequivocal disaster, and is nothing more than selling off public enterprises to mates and cronies and even self.

    Who can forget the ‘elder statesman’ past ‘premier’ of NSW who sold off a freeway to himself, his wife, and fourteen other mates etc, and converted it overnight into a ‘motorway’ that recoups him a few lazy mill a year?

    Same thing with all this other ‘privatisation’ – and the end user will be the one paying for it while the sellers enrich themselves with shares and board positions and such.

  7. 0
    0

    There should be control on what essential Energy can charge to read my meter and change the account to a retirement unit.They are charging 88.72 and pretend its because I have a postcode of 2537.

  8. 0
    0

    I have been saying this for many years. Our utilities did not need to be sold. They were providing the services to the people at reasonable costs. Once your privatise or sell to a corporation you prepare the way for exploitation. It was the greed of parliaments to gain massive revenue in a short term. There was no thought given to the long term impact.
    You note I say parliament as what it has forgotten is that it is the servant of the people and the people need to be consulted as they are the highest authority. Parliament has been behaving as rogue governments making laws that favour the few at the expense of the many. Time to return to lawful government

    • 0
      0

      The model used is the classic difference between the rich and the poor. The poor live off the capital. The rich live off the interest of the assets their capital has bought.
      Governments are en masse living off the capital and when it’s all spent then they will need more….FROM YOU!

    • 0
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      The fact that so many “Energy providers” have sprung up virtually overnight says it all. It indicates the consumer is ripe for the picking. When you look at the actual number of suppliers (of which there aren’t that many) it proves that we have been sold out.

    • 0
      0

      That’s exactly right, mick – once Bailout Baird has sold off the farm, he will be back humping the leg of Morrison for a raise in GST to cover the State’s ‘shortfall in revenue’.

      The fact that after selling off everything and then some, and having ‘private roads’ and such – we are all worse off now than we ever were and the costs of living have gone through the roof at the same time as jobs are disappearing and the economy is on the downhill ski run….

      Anyone who believes we are well served by privatisation is a fool.

  9. 0
    0

    This is all thanks to Miss Gillard! What an evil woman.

    • 0
      0

      Also, John Howard, Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott

    • 0
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      And Malcolm Turnbull. He just hasn’t got up to full speed yet.

      This bloke scares the crap out of me.

    • 0
      0

      And Bailout Baird…. don’t forget…

    • 0
      0

      HUh??? How do you work that? I understand that Abbott Inc. have run up a huge bill and also done away with the debt ceiling so that they can spend on forever.
      Sounds like an Abbott three word slogan jackie.

    • 0
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      You Labor hysteria is showing through jackie.

    • 0
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      mick, I’m just saying this to be helpful. You know you would sound a lot smarter if you stopped mentioning about the Abbott government increasing the debt ceiling. We all know the reason it had to be increased. Labor should have done it before they went into caretaker mode instead of playing childish games.

    • 0
      0

      And what did she do to be called evil?
      Maybe it was because of the slogans using the words witch and bitch or maybe it was all the lies regarding the carbon tax (as the unmentioned part of her speech where she said it would be a price on carbon), then again it could be the NDIS she introduced. Maybe it is the words that came out of the mouth of Abbott, the biggest multi-liar ever, could you in reality ever believe anything he ever said!

  10. 0
    0

    I recently tried to switch my suppliers and every company started offering huge discounts. It goes to show how huge their margins are and how they are ripping off the uninformed. It is all left to the individuals to get the best they can. There is no control.

    • 0
      0

      That’s OK Johnny unless you live in NQ where we can go with Ergon, Ergon or Ergon! No competition allowed by the Qld government, so we are openly getting ripped off by these greedy ……

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