Choice calls on electricity switching site to substantiate carbon claims

Rising electricity prices need a credible solution

CHOICE says businesses should take care to substantiate claims about the carbon price ahead of 1 July, especially when they are using them to drive consumers to their products.

The people’s watchdog says that a claim from electricity switching site Make It Cheaper that “the carbon tax could add up to $500 to a typical family bill”[1] seems at odds with analysis from the CSIRO showing a projected impact on electricity prices of $3.20 per week.[2]

“We are continuing to see sharply increasing electricity prices around Australia, and the main driver is the multi-billion dollar price tag of expanding our energy networks,” says CHOICE Head of Campaigns, Matt Levey.

“In this environment, consumers need clear and credible solutions, and businesses need to make sure they don’t use the carbon price to make unsubstantiated claims to try and sell consumers products.”

CHOICE says given the typical NSW electricity bill is around $1,650 - $2,400 depending on where you live,[3] claiming the carbon price impact would be “up to $500” is questionable.

“Switching electricity providers is potentially one way to save, but as our recent investigation of electricity switching sites showed, there are pitfalls around the transparency of some providers and the complexity of contracts,” says Mr Levey.

CHOICE is calling for a code of conduct for electricity switching sites as part of its super complaint that has been lodged with NSW Fair Trading, along with measures to reform the energy sector.

“We need reforms that break the cycle of multi-billion dollar costs passed through to consumers, with action to reduce peak demand and help households save on bills,” says Mr Levey.

Notes to editors:

Read CHOICE’s investigation of NSW electricity switching sites:

Read more about CHOICE’s support for electricity market reform here:

Media enquiries:

Matt Levey: CHOICE Head of Campaigns: 0488 214 066

[1] Make it Cheaper Media Release, 2 April 2012, ‘NSW Electricity costs too reach record  levels this winter’

[3] See pages 12 and 13 of ‘New South Wales Energy Prices July 2009 – July 2011’, St Vincent de Paul Society

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