More notice for changing power prices

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Consumers will have time to shop around for better power deals now that energy providers must give five days’ notice before prices change, the minister says.

The Australian Energy Market Commission on Thursday will rule that gas and electricity retailers must give customers five days’ notice of price changes, beginning February 1 next year.

Energy Minister Angus Taylor is encouraging consumers to change providers if they see power prices they don’t like.

“We know that there are large discounts available for consumers that make a switch on their retail electricity provider,” he said in a joint statement with the NSW government on Thursday.

Currently, gas and energy providers do not have to inform customers of price changes until their next bill, which Mr Taylor says could take months and result in a shock for household budgets.

The AEMC has also recommended civil penalties if retailers do not comply with the new five day notice period, but this is yet to be implemented.

The decision comes after a proposal from the federal and NSW governments in February for more transparency for customers.

Mr Taylor has pledged his commitment to bringing power prices down since scoring the job in August, with his plan linked to recommendations from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

The three planks of his plan are introducing a price safety net, increasing competition in the sector and stamping out price-gouging.

Mr Taylor has also ruled out replacing the Renewable Energy Target when it expires in 2020.

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