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‘Broken, confusing, costly’: ACCC calls for major reform of energy market

3AW Mornings

The competition watchdog has recommended a dramatic overhaul of the national electricity market in a bid to stop exorbitant prices and confusing deals.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s wide-ranging investigation into retail energy suggests consumers are being let down, and major reforms are needed to “reset” the industry.

It includes extra powers for the regulator to crackdown on so-called “market manipulation” by retailers.

The report says bad policy has lead to a “serious electricity affordability problem”

They’ve made 56 recommendations to fix the energy market.

CEO of the Consumer Action Law Centre Gerard Brody said the energy market had become a free-for-all, unregulated marketplace with confusing and incomparable deals.

“The ACCC has confirmed as we all thought, the energy market is broken, it’s confusing, it’s costing us way to much,” he said.

“As you mentioned there are a multitude of offers out there suggesting discounts which look good but in the end are just confusing and are really incomparable.

“You can’t make head nor tail of them.”

He said often switching providers didn’t lead to better outcomes for consumers, and recommended the regulator set a fair price that all energy providers adhere to.

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Rod Sims, chair of the ACCC, told Tony Jones the problems inherent in the sector came as a surprise to him.

“There’s been problems that have arisen over 10 years,” he said.

“We’ve got to get it right. We think Victorians can save at least $300, some of them they will save a lot more.

“Your average small business would save more than $1000. This needs to happen, Tony.”

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