Momentum Energy Hit With $54,000 In Penalties
Energy retailer Momentum Energy has paid $54,000 in penalties following five infringement notices issued by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) in relation to renewable energy advertising.
The ACCC stated that it “was concerned that an advertising campaign by Momentum, which included television, print, radio, social media and its website, represented that Momentum generated and supplied renewable electricity, when this is not the case”.
Momentum, a retailer of gas and electricity in Victoria, NSW, South Australia, Queensland and the ACT, from around September to December last year had represented that it generated and supplied renewable electricity through phrases including: “We generate energy out of thin air. And fresh water”, and “Powered by Hydro Tasmania, all our electricity is 100% Renewable”, the ACCC advised.
Momentum’s television advertising also featured footage of a hydroelectricity dam.
Momentum also stated via its website that “for every bit of power you use, the equivalent amount of renewable energy is fed directly into the National Electricity Market by our parent company, Hydro Tasmania”, the ACCC advised.
“However, purchasing electricity from Momentum had no direct effect upon the amount of renewable electricity which Hydro Tasmania supplied in the NEM,” the ACCC stated.
With the National Electricity Market (NEM) “a pool of electricity from a range of sources including coal-fired generation”, the ACCC stated that “it is not possible for any retailer who supplies from the NEM to accurately claim that their electricity comes from one particular source”.
“Although Momentum is owned by Hydro Tasmania, the electricity it supplies comes from the National Energy Market, not from hydroelectricity generated in Tasmania,” ACCC chairman Rod Sims commented.
“By its advertising campaign, Momentum gave consumers the misleading impression that Momentum offered a renewable energy product, when this was not the case.
“These sorts of claims may mislead consumers to buy a product thinking it is a ‘greener’ option than it really is. Such conduct not only harms consumers but also disadvantages competitors who may, for example, offer accredited GreenPower plans which provide a financial incentive for new renewable electricity generation.”