Victoria’s energy regulator has issued $900,000 in penalties to retailer Momentum Energy for overcharging customers on their power bills.
This comes after the Essential Services Commission (ESC) found that the energy provider failed to apply relevant concessions to eligible customers’ bills.
Momentum Energy has applied a credit to all affected customer accounts and entered into an enforceable undertaking with the ESC to inform owners of closed accounts that they are entitled to a refund.
ESC Chairperson, Kate Symons, said this is one of the highest penalties the Commission has ever imposed, reflecting the seriousness of the issue.
“This isn’t the first time that Momentum Energy has had to take part in an enforceable undertaking and these repeated incidents have let down Victorians who deserve better treatment,” she said.
Momentum Energy says it became aware that customer concessions records had not correctly synchronised between old and new management systems in March 2018, meaning concessions weren’t applied.
Whilst the retailer did notify the ESC of the issue, affected customers were not notified within the required period.
This is the second time in recent months that Momentum has taken part in an undertaking with the Commission. It was also recently required to provide more than half a million dollars in compensation to customers who were issued a defective disconnection warning prior to the disconnection of energy to their premises.
In 2016, the retailer also came under scrutiny for misleading claims about providing renewable energy which resulted in a $54,000 penalty.
Canstar Blue Editor-in-Chief, Simon Downes, encouraged energy customers to make sure they are receiving the concession they’re entitled to.
“Concessions are there to help and without them some households will find it more difficult to manage their payments,” he said.
“Customers shouldn’t be afraid to have a look at their energy bill and speak up if something looks amiss.”
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