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ACCC Slams Energy Provider Over Ad Breach

The ACCC has slammed electricity provider, Local Planning Energy (LPE), for an alleged failure to advertise prices online in accordance with the local Electricity Retail Code.

Rolled-out in July 2019, the code sought to reduce confusion and make it easier for consumers to compare retail electricity offers – imposing rules on electricity providers on how to advertise prices.

The ACCC claims LPE breached the code with an online listing that failed to include; a comparison of its offered price to the reference price (benchmark set by government), distribution region and applicable customer, plus total annual amount paid with typical usage.

LPE has paid a penalty of $10,500, and is the first enforcement action taken by the ACCC for a breach of the code.

Example of website advertisement by Locality Planning Energy

[ACCC: Example of website advertisement by LPE]

“By not displaying the information required by the Code, LPE made it difficult for consumers to assess the value of the deal against others advertised in the market,” states ACCC Chair Rod Sims said.

“Electricity retailers have had plenty of time to ensure they comply with the Code and the ACCC will not hesitate to take enforcement action against those who fail to do so.”

The code mandates prices and discounts must be calculated and advertised against the reference price, as a comparison percentage.

The Electricity Retail Code is a mandatory code prescribed under the Competition and Consumer Act, with a guide issued to energy retailers here.

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