Energy retailer Lumo Energy Australia (owned by Snowy Hydro Limited) was made to pay a penalty of $10,800 after being given an infringement notice by the ACCC.
Per the ACCC Website they issued the infringement notice because “it had reasonable grounds to believe that Lumo had contravened the Australian Consumer Law by making a false or misleading representation about energy discounts.”
Lumo had a promo banner on its website in February 2017 that customers all over Australia could save 33 per cent off their total electricity bill and 17 per cent off their total gas bill if they switched to Lumo.
These discounts were only available to residents of Victoria even though it did not state this in the advertisement. The maximum discounts for electricity were a lot less in other states. Additionally, Lumo does not offer gas outside Victoria. “Discounted energy plans are very attractive to many Australians who are trying to reduce their energy bills,” ACCC Commissioner Sarah Court said.
“It is vitally important that any representations made to consumers about discounts are accurate and relevant to them, so that people can make informed decisions about their choice of energy retailer and feel confident in those choices.”
“Consumer confidence can lead to increased switching between retailers, and better competition within the energy market as a whole,” Ms Court said.
The ACC advises that consumers are encouraged to visit the AER’s independent price comparator website, Energy Made Easy, to help find a better energy deal. Victorian consumers can visit the Victorian Government’s independent, price comparison site Victorian Energy Compare to find the best deal to suit their energy needs.
Although the payment of this infringement ($10,800) was made this is not an admission of a contravention of the Australian Consumer Law. The ACCC can issue an infringement notice where it has reasonable grounds to believe a person has contravened certain consumer protection laws.