08 People take back the power
MORE than 100,000 families have rushed to secure a better power deal in recent weeks, after Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull pushed energy companies to write to customers stuck on expensive plans.
Last month Mr Turnbull sealed a deal with energy retailers, who agreed to write to at least one million customers on more expensive “standing offers”, to let them know they could be entitled to a discount or cheaper deal.
Energy retailers also agreed to contact customers on expiring discount offers to help them secure a better plan.
Since then, Origin Energy recorded a 38 per cent rise in the number of people calling for a better deal. Origin said more than 48,000 Australians have transferred to a discounted offer in the past month.
In response to the huge influx, Origin will hire 200 new staff to work in call centres in Melbourne and Adelaide to cope with the extra calls.
Origin’s executive general manager of retail, Jon Briskin, said staff were dealing with “significantly higher call volumes”.
“At peak times this has meant some longer call-wait times, and that’s why we’ve added a large number of new team members to our call centres to make sure we are meeting demand from customers to get on better deals and save on energy costs,” Mr Briskin said.
Red Energy, part of the Snowy Hydro group, has also experienced a 20 per cent spike in calls over the past fortnight. The number of customers chasing a better deal has almost doubled in the past week.
Energy Australia, which has 2.6 million customers, received about 30 per cent more calls nationally in August compared to the previous month.
More than 30,000 customers reviewed and changed their gas and electricity plans to a better deal.
Australia’s largest electricity retailer AGL also confirmed the number of customers changing plans had increased each month since June.
When asked about the boost in families contacting their energy company to secure a better deal, Mr Turnbull said he was “delighted” by the response.
“We called in the retailers because too many families were paying too much for their electricity,” Mr Turnbull said.