Bills

Turnbull to hold more talks on power bills

Malcolm Turnbull will seek a report card from electricity retailers on how they are taking pressure off power bills.

At a meeting on August 9, the prime minister extracted a series of promises from power companies including contacting all customers on expired discounts and telling them how much they could save on a better deal.

As well, plain-English fact sheets with understandable comparison rates would be rolled out and customers on hardship programs would be saved from losing any benefit or discount for late payment.

The prime minister says families, who on average pay $2500 a year for their electricity, could save a quarter of their bill if they shop around.

It’s expected electricity laws will be changed in coming weeks to require a clear disclosure at the end of a discount period or a benefit period of the dollar impact of not doing anything based on past consumption.

About half of all households have not changed retailers or contracts in the past five years.

The retailers provided initial written reports to Mr Turnbull on August 18 and will provide further details at Wednesday’s meeting.

The government is also expected to receive a report on Friday from the Australian Energy Market Operator on the likely gaps in baseload power into the future, which could impact on power prices and reliability.

The report will help inform discussion on a clean energy target, which was recommended by chief scientist Alan Finkel as a way of providing greater certainty for investors and cutting emissions.

June: Government argues over energy policy

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