Peo­ple tak­ing back power

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - - NEWS - ANNIKA SMETHURST

MORE than 100,000 fam­i­lies have rushed to se­cure a bet­ter power deal in re­cent weeks af­ter Malcolm Turnbull pushed en­ergy com­pa­nies to write to cus­tomers stuck on ex­pen­sive plans.

In Au­gust, 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.

En­ergy Aus­tralia, which has 2.6 mil­lion cus­tomers, re­ceived about 30 per cent more calls na­tion­ally in Au­gust com­pared to the month be­fore. 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, the Prime Min­is­ter said he was lighted” by the re­sponse.

“We called in the re­tail­ers be­cause too many fam­i­lies were pay­ing too much for their elec­tric­ity,” Mr Turnbull said.

“We un­der­stand that Aus­tralians are do­ing it tough right now and an ex­tra cou­ple of hun­dred dol­lars can make a big dif­fer­ence. We are fo­cused on the things that make a dif­fer­ence in Aus­tralians’ day-to­day lives.” “de-

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