Government finally steps in to help struggling Aussies

Could this be the end of ridiculous energy bills?

The Turnbull government is taking power companies to task under new rules to give households more capacity to cut their electricity bills. 

The Australian reported that power companies will be forced to overhaul their pricing plans amid government fears that Australian households are being charged up to $1500 more than needed on some contracts. 

Power company chiefs have been put on notice by Prime Minster Malcolm Turnbull to prepare for much tougher and stricter electricity market rules that would force retailers to be more transparent in their charges to customers. 

Read more: Australia forks out more for this than any other country

Energy Minster Josh Frydenberg wrote in The Australian that “loyal customers were left languishing” because power companies currently had no responsibility to let them know about price hikes. 

“As the rules currently stand, retailers are not obliged to inform customers when their discount period ends if their contract is ­ongoing,” Frydenberg wrote.

“This should change, as ­customers deserve to know not only when the bill is changing, but by how much.”

The government has vowed to do more to help Aussies struggling with skyrocketing energy prices. 

Read more: Half of Aussie households are being ripped off on energy bills

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This follows a move to force export limits on gas companies in order to boost local supplies. 

The government’s Energy Made Easy comparison service showed there were more than 1100 residential market electricity offers available on the east coast early this month but more than half of them allowed retailers to change their prices with little or no notice. 

The Prime Minister will now to try to shift his agenda to energy affordability following yesterday’s Coalition agreement on a “people’s vote” to decide same-sex marriage, as his government continues to struggle in the polls as it tries to convince the public it is doing something about the ever increasing cost of living.  

Read moreHow to avoid being overcharged on your monthly bills

Calling on the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to step in and force disclosure from power companies has not been ruled out by the government.

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The market watchdog continues to look into the electricity retail market and its profit margins.

“Too many families are not on the best power deal they are en­titled to,” Turnbull said in a statement last night.

“A significant number of customers remain on standing offers, or market offers with expired benefit periods — potentially more than half of all customers. We are particularly concerned that many of those customers are the people least able to afford paying more.

“This situation must be addressed — urgently and directly. We do not want households to pay one cent more than they have to.”

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