AGL South Australia, AGL Sales and AGL Retail Energy have paid $60,000 in penalties in response to infringement notices issued by the Australian Energy Regulator (AER).
The AER issued the infringement notices alleging that, between 2013 and 2017, AGL failed to notify more than 1000 customers across NSW, SA and QLD that their fixed term retail contracts were due to end.
The National Energy Retail Rules (Retail Rules) require that retailers inform customers in writing about their options at the end of any fixed term contract, such as setting up a new contract or moving to another retailer. Importantly, retailers must disclose what happens if they choose to not enter into a new contract with their current retailer.
AER chair Paula Conboy, said, “I am particularly concerned that by not telling customers that their retail contracts were due to end, AGL failed to provide customers with time to look around for a better energy deal.
“These requirements of the retail rules are important safeguards to ensure customers are fully informed and able to make active choices of their retail energy supplier.”
Recent changes to the Retail Rules mean customers who sign up to an ongoing contract that has a specified benefit period must also receive notification when that benefit is ending or changing.
The AER will closely monitor retailers’ compliance with this new requirement to ensure customers get the benefit of the new rule.
“Significant savings can be made, especially if customers are nearing the end of a fixed term contract or a benefit period. This makes it even more important that retailers meet their obligations to notify customers at that time,” Ms Conboy said.
The payment of a penalty specified in an infringement notice is not an admission by a business of a contravention of the Retail Rules.