The retail sector you trust less than banks

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Only 39 per cent of Australians trust their energy company – down from 50 per cent in 2017 – according to an Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) review.

The 2018 national retail energy competition report also revealed that Australians feel they get better value for money from banks, water, and phone and internet providers, than from their power companies.

And when it comes to value for money, consumers rank energy companies lower than the banking, water, broadband and mobile sectors. Energy is the only sector to have had decreased satisfaction over the past year.

The report also found that:

  • Satisfaction with the level of competition fell from 49 to 43 per cent, and value for money fell by four points for both electricity and gas to 44 per cent and 60 per cent, respectively.
  • A high level of discounting was an issue because discounts did not start from a standard base across retailers.
  • Across the 5940 electricity and gas market offers in March 2018, 57 per cent had at least one conditional discount and 25 per cent had at least one unconditional discount. “It’s difficult for customers to understand the significance of one retailer’s discounting level compared to others,” the report said.
  • More consumers were switching retailers and using comparator websites to help navigate the complexity of the market. “Commercial comparator sites can help people navigate the market but could be more transparent about the number of offers they compare,” the report said.

Switching rates were found to be highest in Victoria (27 per cent) and south-east Queensland (25 per cent). The switching rate in New South Wales is 19 per cent, South Australia is 16 per cent and the Australian Capital Territory is six per cent.

Are there moves for reforms in the sector?

Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg says energy retailers are on notice and must give customers a better deal.

“The companies have not served their customers well. They have a lot of explaining to do,” he said, adding that he was waiting for a report from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) on the network and energy pricing. The report is due to be delivered later this month.

“I’m not going to foreshadow any particular action the Government may or may not be taking other than to say the companies are on notice,” Mr Frydenberg told Sky News.

In YourLifeChoices’ Retirement Income and Financial Literacy Survey 2018, members were asked for their views on energy companies and plans. The word ‘outrageous’ was used by many of the 6000-plus respondents.

Some of your comments included:

“Energy prices are outrageous; more support should be given to aged pensioners.”

“Energy prices are extremely overpriced and, as such, I don’t use heating or cooling in winter or summer. There should be some rebates, incentives or supplements to assist the families struggling to stay afloat.”

“Decrease of energy prices, increase of rebates! It is getting increasingly difficult for older people to keep up with the high tech websites where one would find all the hidden advantages of rebates.”

“Increase solar tariff payments to solar panels owners by the energy suppliers. Rebates or incentives for battery systems to supplement existing residential solar installations.”

Do you find it difficult to compare energy plans? Do you believe you are getting the best deal available? Do you have solar, and are you happy with it?

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Written by Janelle Ward

40 Comments

Total Comments: 40
  1. 0
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    I trust then banks and the energy companies
    Both these sectors provide excellent services to ordinary Australians and a decent return to investors

    • 0
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      Oh dear or dear. Raphael is this site’s super active paid for web troll and he or she is sprouting the government and super rich line again, again and again. Please get of this site and let decent ordinary people discuss our problems. I notice you never any solutions

    • 0
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      I agree Raphael both banks and energy companies have served me well as investments.

      As with anything shop around and then ask both banks and energy companies for a better deal. Just been offered an awesome deal by my energy company and my banks serve me well too.

    • 0
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      I think I trust my bank and energy company a tiny little bit more than I trust Raphael

    • 0
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      My bank is also very good and I recently changed to Red Energy because it is Australian owned and am quite happy with the deal.

    • 0
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      CBA back up above $70

      Origin energy approaching $10

      NAB stull down but excellent dividends

      Everything looking rosy

    • 0
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      Be even rosier when Origin start paying a dividend again.

    • 0
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      There you go again – attempted diversion of the topic by two paid right-wing trolls! This article is about the experience of CUSTOMERS not Investors! Get your comprehension right – if you can!

    • 0
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      George we are both investors and consumers and yes we do want the best of both.

  2. 0
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    How can either institutions be trusted when there are different price structures for different customers. Why can some people get a lower interest rate for the same type of loan or why can a discount of up to $150.00 be given for prompt payment? This is Australia, not an eastern country where bargaining is the method of commerce. Rates and costs should be set for all customers and instead of offering a discount for prompt payment, why not penalise late payers. Why should we be forced to beg for discounts?

    • 0
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      I love those discounts. So easy to get just set up a direct debit and then it’s paid for a few weeks after they issue you a bill. No more worrying about having to pay them when you are away from home etc.

    • 0
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      Honestly Old Man, do you really think there is a difference between a “discount for prompt payment” and a “penalty for late payers” other than the former being an advertising gimmick designed to appeal to the non-thinkers.
      I suppose you can also see a difference between a cup that is half full and one which is half empty.

    • 0
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      If people pay on time they deserve a discount.

    • 0
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      The discounts are illusionary as the claimed discount is off a high standard rate.If you do your homework some of the best deals offer no discount.In addition many retailers make the so called discounts dependant on you paying on time.You miss a payment,you will be penalised big time.So your 40% discount becomes a 40% late payment fee.
      Customers would find it easier to compare deals if the ACCC outlawed “discounts” and forced retailers to reveal their standard net rate.We could then compare apples with apples.

  3. 0
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    I have a spreadsheet that I use to work out the best deal from energy company PDSs. Most deals are only a dollar or two different so it’s really not worthwhile now.

  4. 0
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    I (and others) have a problem when reports cite “national” or “Australian” interests yet fail to account for 1/3 to 1/2 of the country when they don’t include WA or NT. Admittedly those two states only take up a combined 25% of the population but that is a lot to be left out of any analysis.

  5. 0
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    PRIVATISE then perish.

    • 0
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      The private providers are doing a very bad job of supplying the smelters and factories now. Aren’t we lucky we don’t have many factories, smelters , refineries etc left or there would be constant black outs.

      Funny how the “inefficient” public owned utilities managed to supply an industrial base years ago and our more “efficient” private owners can’t manage the same success.

    • 0
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      Rae, the public utility providers were very efficient at providing their primary products, which were electricity, water, telecommunications, etc.
      Once privatised, they are still very efficient at providing their primary products, which are now profits/dividends for their shareholders (and that is enshrined in company law). The supply of electricity, water, telecommunications, etc becomes a secondary function, and only if profitable.

  6. 0
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    Raphael perhaps it may be your party we can’t trust with supporters like you and O.G.

  7. 0
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    The best thing I ever did was join the credit union 1986

  8. 0
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    As the CEO of a private company, Mr Vesey is doing a stirling job looking after his investors and shareholders: 7% growth and a forecasted billion dollar after tax profit for the year to June 2018. Not much to complain about there right? He is certainly looking after the shareholder interest. It’s not about fairness, affordability or any other ‘fluffy’ feel good ideology. As a shareholder you’d expect nothing less (and don’t forget, superfunds are also shareholders).

    As a consumer, it is up to us to get the best deal we can from any service provider or walk away and go elsewhere. Of course few actually do and so get charged the ‘lazy’ tax! Even fewer have no choice of provider!

    Now, whether it is in the national interest – that is another issue entirely. When the actions of a private company compromise the national interest then the Government must step in. A single private enterprise cannot be allowed to engineer shortfalls in domestic supply through over exporting and/or limiting supply. The Government must pursue caps on the amount of gas exported, thus eliminating the need for even more costly imports by the same single supplier, until such time local demands can be met and supply guaranteed.

    If people wish to install solar systems (or any other power generating system), storage batteries or go off grid entirely, that is their choice. However, I do not see why the taxpayer should provide subsidies for them to do so. It is a personal choice and a personal expense. They should be charged for any power taken from the grid just like everyone else, and if they do feed their own excess back to the grid (and not store it for themselves for when the sun don’t shine) the ‘payment’ from the grid should be the same rate as downloading from it.

    Unless you start advocating for the total renationalisation of power generation, supply and distribution, there can never be a one price for all; there will always be deals done and agreements made. That’s what happens with private companies. Even supermarkets don’t charge the same price for the same product even when they are next door to each other in the shopping mall!

    • 0
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      And the inability to run a smallish smelter or manufacturing enterprise without fear of shut downs.

      We were warned about this privatisation business with electricity.

      Even NSW stuffed it up by spending $16 billion taxpayer dollars to get an $11 billion sale over the line and pretend it was some sort of bonus to the State.

      Privatising may be a great idea but it certainly isn’t great for consumers and businesses that are heavy uses of electricity.

      Of course if we had plenty of coal, sunshine, wind, waves and gas in Australia we could have much cheaper electricity. Even match some of the cheapest such as China.

    • 0
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      Vesey’s 457 visa should be cancelled in the National interest (anti-national activities) and he should be sent back immediately – where is our tough Immigration Minister?

      Rae, good comments, however I can’t understand your statement “…if we had plenty of coal, sunshine, wind, waves and gas in Australia we could have much cheaper electricity.”
      In fact, we have a very small population, and also have some of the largest amount of Resources including “coal, sunshine, wind, waves and gas (last item possibly largest in the world)”, as well as Uranium! Yet our moronic political leaders have managed to destroy our “lucky country” advantages almost totally by handing over our riches to Private (especially foreign) companies!
      Yes, we do need Re-nationalisation of our Resources sector – check out how Arabs own all companies and get others to deliver the work on paid contracts with their countries reaping the benefits with NO taxes for the people.

  9. 0
    0

    I have just finished dealing with my Late Fathers estate. AGL were the most difficult infact impossible . Anyone would think they had never dealt with elderly or deceased persons accounts. 128 months ago I took ovr my Fathers account and found for at least 25 years he had been with AGL and always paid on time but no PAY ON TIME DISCOUNT I got one for him and they promptly forgot his seniors concession More phone calls about 4.
    Then he died Rebates for Solar were not processes. I sold the propeerty and asked for a metre read on the day of settlement . The metre still has not been read 2 months later.
    I have made about 20 phone calls to get metre read to get the rebates for solar and to get his concession rebate when required.
    I have been told lies I have been promised I have been bullied I have been harassed I have been told the account has been closed and sorry thats it.
    Trust!!!!!! you must be kidding I have been to the ombudsman and a senior AGL man rang and harassed and abused and and belittled me and told me lies and he would Not get the meter read and so what did I want….. I got 100 dollars which was really all the solar rebate I was owed.
    THEY HIDE BEHIND THE PHONE AND THEY HOPE YOU WILL GO AWAY. WELL NOW I AM NOW GOING TO THE ACCC

  10. 0
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    In reality we live in a world where dog eats dog. Some may call it healthy competition. All the lovey lovey drivel that seems to entrap so many people all is pure fanatasy. Human nature by definition is one of survival by whatever means it takes. The survival of the fittest will always prevail. Whether the rich get richer or the poor get poorer is irrelevant in terms of the underlying human need to survive. Do what you have to do and care only about yourself and trust no one in the process.

    • 0
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      Look after number 1 and everything will be great.

    • 0
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      OG you agree, great. Just call me number 1. I am simply the best. The winner takes it all. Money money money. If I was a rich man…..

    • 0
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      What you are not a rich man?

    • 0
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      OG Very rich in all the right places. I am perfection personified. The money just comes naturally. I just click my fingers and there it is. People falling over themselves to rub shoulders with me.

    • 0
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      Good then as I only feel healthy not rich myself.

    • 0
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      Yes, survival of the fittest… but humans are supposed to be above that level and have empathy and compassion. It is supposed to be a feature of the human species that we care about the less fortunate and pay attention to the quality of our society rather than just to our own well-being. That was somewhat true once. Sad that it is no longer.

      Of course, there have always been those who persecuted the disadvantaged, took unfair advantage of others, and demonstrated no capacity for empathy. There has always been appalling cruelty and inhuman behaviour. Just look at what’s came out about sex abuse of children, and that’s the tip of the iceberg. Facts were revealed about other forms of abuse but nothing has been done to assist the victims. Forced adoptions, children shockingly abused in institutions, sex abuse by religious leaders, discrimination, corruption in government, greed in private enterprise… it goes on and on and on and on.

      At the end of the day, I guess we can only conclude that the majority are NOT HUMAN, or that humans have been wrongly attributed with a higher degree of intelligence and decency than other species.

      Part of the problem, I suspect, is disillusionment with the consequences of showing humanity. Charity and kindness brings out the greedy, the selfish, the cheats, the manipulators, the liars… That’s as much or more a consequence of the structure of our charity systems as it is a reflection on the people who abuse kindness. If governments conceived sensible rules for access to support, and supported in more appropriate ways, there would be minimal abuse. But that’s never going to happen because, once again, the me me me priority drives power-brokers to structure the system so that the privileged always win and the disadvantaged get no more than crumbs under the table – and so that giving to the disadvantaged benefits the privileged.

      In summary, we live in a sick world full of vile, selfish, greedy, unconscionable people. Bankers and CEOs of power companies are in very good and abundant company in their unethical behaviours. Very sad!

    • 0
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      OGR I got over all this epathy BS a long time ago as I was sick of people saying nice things to me and telling the truth behind my back. So I just say it how it is now as I don’t want others to suffer in the hands of the gossips.

    • 0
      0

      Obviously you have no idea what ”empathy” is, OG. Nothing whatever to do with saying nice things or gossiping you poor ignorant fool. No wonder you are so nasty. Lack the intelligence and comprehension needed to display human qualities.

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