Power companies agree to lower prices


powerELECTRICITY company chiefs have agreed to write to customers when their power plans are about to expire and give them information about better deals and other options.

Australian households will be able to tell when their power company is moving them to a more expensive plan after Malcolm Turnbull told electricity company chiefs during a meeting on Wednesday that millions of Australians were paying too much for their power.

It’s been estimated households could save $1000 or more a year by switching companies or $400 just by getting a better deal from their existing supplier.

The government blames a lack of transparency by electricity retailers and the difficulty in switching providers.

All but one of the companies attending on Wednesday offer a range of deals and discounts to sign up to their service.

But once those end — typically after a year or two — customers are moved onto a more-expensive default plan, often without being told.

The other company has a single rate for all its customers.

Momentum Energy, Simply Energy, AGL, Energy Australia, Origin Energy, Snowy Hydro and Alinta Energy agreed to tell customers on expired discount plans what other deals were available.

A new rule will require companies to tell households coming to the end of a discount plan how much more they’ll pay if they do nothing to get a new deal.

“Australian families are hurting now. They want their government to stand up for them now,” Mr Turnbull told reporters after the meeting.

“This will ensure that Australian families … will then be paying less for their electricity because they will be on the plan that works best for them.”