Monday, July 23rd, 2012 - Family First
Dennis Hood has spoken out about some electricity consumers who face rises of around 21% under “discount” contracts when the standard increase is “only” 18%.

“The Essential Services Commission has made a decision that rises for those on the standing contract will be fixed at 18% from 1 July. However, only 25% of electricity users are on the standing contract. The rest have agreed to a particular plan because they were offered “discounts” by retailers. A significant number of people have complained to me that they have been told by their retailer that prices will rise by around 21% under what are supposed to be discounted contracts”, Mr Hood said.

“It seems unfair to me that the retailers can raise prices to anything they decide, and the consumer simply has to pay. Many of these consumers are on a 2 year contract that has a penalty if they go to another retailer. They have no choice but to pay the new rates. Some consumers have negotiated a discount, which is now being eaten away.”

“I am looking at the provisions about unfair contract terms in the Competition and Consumer Act 2010, which is federal legislation. It provides in Schedule 2, sections 23 to 25 that a standard form contract provision can be unfair and void if it permits one party, but not the other party, to vary a term of the contract. I would regard the price to be paid as a term of the contract.”

“Rises in standard prices for electricity, gas and water have been out of all proportion to the CPI in recent years. It seems unfair if the rises are even steeper still for some consumers. I have introduced a bill to give parliament the power to disallow rises if they are more than twice CPI. Family First is determined to stop these ridiculous rises from continuing in the future. Many people simply cannot afford them. I have heard from pensioners who cannot afford to heat their houses in winter any more. We must take action to limit these rises.”

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Rikki Lambert

P: (08) 8237 9122
W: sa.familyfirst.org.au

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Dennis Hood has spoken out about some electricity consumers who face rises of around 21% under “discount” contracts when the standard increase is “only” 18%.

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