21 May 2024

Budget initiatives aim to make energy plans cheaper and easier

| Andrew McLaughlin
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Chris Bowen & Anthony Albanese

Energy Minister Chris Bowen (left, with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese) says he wants to make it easier for energy consumers to switch to cheaper plans or change provider. Photo: Chris Bowen Facebook.

The days of energy plans automatically rolling over to a more expensive one when they end may soon be over.

Federal Energy Minister Chris Bowen said funding was allocated in last week’s budget to develop a process whereby energy consumers would be automatically offered, and could easily secure, the best deal from their providers with just ”one click”.

The $1.8 million initiative is being funded under a $48 million reform package announced in the budget. Mr Bowen said the initiative would not only allow consumers to secure the best deal, but to also receive concessions and rebates they may be entitled to.

The move comes after the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) found last year that households could save up to $400 a year on their energy bills by switching plans.

In its Inquiry into the National Electricity Market report published in December, the ACCC said that at least 25 per cent of households were needlessly paying more for their energy because they weren’t aware they could switch plans with their provider, or switch providers altogether.

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“We know households are doing it tough and we don’t want them to be paying one cent more than necessary for their electricity bills,” Mr Bowen said.

“The Albanese Government wants to make sure legacy high bills are taken out of the system and that the process to get the best deal on energy is as simple as possible.”

He said the “one-click switch” initiative would make it as easy as possible for energy consumers to ensure they were on the cheapest plan possible.

An additional $16.6 million was also allocated to improve the Energy Made Easy comparison website so consumers can more accurately compare energy plans.

Mr Bowen said these initiatives, combined with the $300 energy rebate for all Australians announced in the budget, would help ease financial pressures on households after several years of double-digit energy price rises had contributed to the cost-of-living crisis. The rebate will appear as a $75 discount on consumers’ quarterly energy bills.

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“It’s a small but important initiative in the budget because it’s going to have a positive impact on bringing down the cost of living for households over the long term,” Mr Bowen said.

He said he hoped to have an implementation plan in place by July for all the state energy ministers to consider, as regulatory change would be required in all states and territories to implement the changes.

The peak body for electricity retailers, the Australian Energy Council (AEC), said its members were ready to work with the government to ensure the smooth rollout of the energy rebates and other budget initiatives.

“This bill relief will be welcome news for households and small businesses that have been struggling with prolonged cost-of-living pressures,” the AEC’s interim chief executive Ben Barnes said.

The AEC said while it acknowledged the other budget measures to support consumer energy resources and changes to better energy deals, more work and detail were required.

Original Article published by Andrew McLaughlin on PS News.

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Gregg Heldon4:25 pm 22 May 24

Can’t switch plans in an embedded network. Can’t opt out of an embedded network.
So, not everyone will benefit from this.

Casanovas idea of having one source of energy to.power the entire continent is sheer madness.

@Michael M
You are right – that would be madness. Which is why clean energy in Australia is not single source – at the moment, it’s solar, wind and hydro.

What’s your next ill-informed comment on energy?

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