Fines landed on dodgy power maths
Origin Energy has been charged $325,000 for breaking Australian Consumer Law over some of its discount claims.
The Federal Court of Australia says Origin made “false or misleading representations” to South Australian consumers that under a DailySaver energy plan, they would receive a discount of up to 16% off Origin’s energy usage charges (for electricity) and up to 12% off Origin’s energy usage charges (for natural gas).
The Court found that because the rates used to calculate usage charges under a DailySaver energy plan were higher than the rates under Origin’s standard retail contracts.
As a result, consumers who entered into a DailySaver energy plan in early to mid-2013 effectively received a reduced discount.
“Power bills place considerable pressure on household budgets. Energy plans featuring discounts are designed to attract consumers and do so because they are seen as providing an opportunity to ease that pressure,” Australian Consumer and Competition Commission chair Rod Sims said.
“Origin misled consumers about the level of discount they would achieve under a DailySaver energy plan – the key feature that would have attracted consumers to the plan.”
“This is a priority area for the ACCC, and we will continue to take appropriate action against energy retailers who engage make false or misleading claims to consumers, particularly where those claims concern discounts or pricing.”
The Court also ordered the publication of a corrective notice in The Advertiser newspaper, notification to all affected consumers and payment of a contribution towards the ACCC’s costs.