Complaints about power bills jump

CONSUMER complaints to energy retailers around the nation rose 41% last year and discounts offered by the retailers might not be as good as believed.

The Australian Energy Market Commission's latest retail competition review showed some "discount offers" of less than 5% could actually save consumers more than those marketed as saving 20%.

The report also showed consumer awareness of price comparison websites was low - with fewer than 1% of people surveyed in the report able to name the Your Choice and My Power Planner websites.

Consumer Action Law Centre chief executive Gerard Brody said the discount claims revealed some retailers were "hiding the real cost".

"The problem is that the discounts are 'off' various maximum prices and unless the actual price is clearly stated, discounts can be smoke and mirrors to trick customers," he said.

"It's really disappointing that energy companies think this is an appropriate way to treat Australians around the delivery of an essential service."

Mr Brody said while the report showed market competition was "good in itself", Australians needed better rules to help them compare different products and get the best deal.



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