McArdle’s action on electricity discounts

THE State Government has taken urgent action in response to reports of electricity retailers failing to notify customers about the expiry of discounts on their contracts.

Energy Minister Mark McArdle (pictured) said he had asked the Queensland Competition Author-ity (QCA) to amend the Electricity Industry Code to require retailers to inform customers when their fixed-term benefit was nearing expiration.

Under the Electricity Act 1994, only the QCA can make amendments to the code.

"This will require retailers to advise electricity customers when their negotiated contract and any fixed benefit are due to expire," Mr McArdle said.

"Recent reports of electricity consumers being unaware that they've stopped receiving discounts from their retailer are concerning and we have taken immediate action to put a stop to this."

Mr McArdle said he was made aware of the problem by the Energy and Water Ombudsman late last week.

"He became aware that electricity retailers have been offering plans with benefits such as a discount for a fixed period to customers who are on open ended negotiated contracts," he said.

"The Electricity Industry Code currently requires retailers to alert customers 20 to 40 days ahead of the pending expiry of a negotiated contract, but not of a looming end of a fixed benefit under that very contract.

"As a result, customers may not discover their discount has expired until they receive their next bill, which may be some months after expiry of the plan."

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