Eligible households in Western Australia will soon receive a power bill credit from one of the state’s government-owned electricity retailers, after it was found to have been inflating electricity prices.
Synergy will pay a selection of its customers later this year following an investigation by WA’s Economic Regulation Authority (ERA), which found it had inflated wholesale electricity prices about 11,000 times between April 2016 and July 2017.
The investigation, which was originally filed in 2019, alleged Synergy of breaching the Market Rules by artificially increasing the price of its electricity in the wholesale balancing market. This was then brought before the Electricity Review Board, who in November 2022, agreed that Synergy had breached the Market Rules.
As a resolution, Synergy has agreed in a settlement with the ERA to pay $30 million in bill credit to its customers. This will result in a one-off payment worth $28 on customers’ power bills.
ERA Chair Steve Edwell said the settlement was a learning curve for electricity generators.
“The learning here is that electricity generators must ensure that the costs underpinning their wholesale market prices are consistent with the Market Rules,” he said. “This is especially the case for generators who have market power.”
Despite agreeing to the breaches, in a statement, Synergy claims that the activity in question did not directly affect the price of electricity for households.
The retailer has also stated it is paying the $30 million to customers in its agreement to the ERA, as an alternative to civil penalty.
Additionally, Synergy has said it will undergo an independent review of the internal circumstances that lead to the breach.
The one-off bill credit will be paid to customers alongside the federal and state government energy bill relief payments already announced in the state.
Mr Edwell added that the ERA sought that the $30 million on Synergy’s behalf be paid back directly to customers in order to “provide some relief to current cost of living pressures”.
I am a Synergy customer: Am I eligible for the credit?
According to the Synergy website, residential customers who have an eligible, active account with the retailer on August 18, 2023 will automatically have the one-off payment applied to their account.
Eligible customers have been listed as those on the following Synergy products:
- Home Plan (A1) Tariff
- Midday Saver
- Community Energy
- EV Add On Plan
- Smart Home Plan
Synergy has also stated it will pass on the credit to customers on pre-payment meters for any of the above products or pilot products.
The $28 credit will be paid to eligible customers’ accounts on September 2, 2023.
For the full terms and conditions or to check if you are eligible, it is best to visit the Synergy website for more details.
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