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    Media Statements

    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Minister for Mines and Energy
    The Honourable Geoff Wilson

    Electricity retailers face fines for misconduct

    Minister for Mines and Energy
    The Honourable Geoff Wilson

    Thursday, May 01, 2008

    Electricity retailers face fines for misconduct

    Two Queensland electricity retailers will be hit with thousands of dollars in fines for breaches of the Electricity Act.

    Mines and Energy Minister Geoff Wilson told State Parliament today Origin Energy and Queensland Electricity were found to have breached the Electricity Act and the conditions of their licences.

    “The Electricity Regulator has advised me he has made formal findings against two retailers, and those findings have now been served on the relevant companies,” Mr Wilson said.

    “He has also advised the retailers that he intends to impose fines.”

    Mr Wilson said the Regulator proposed to impose fines of $50,000 for Origin and $15,000 for Queensland Electricity.

    The maximum penalty under the Act is $99,375.

    The Regulator advised the retailers that they have seven days to show the penalty is not appropriate, or else they will have to pay.

    Mr Wilson said the decision was the result of an investigation and legal processes commenced by the Queensland Electricity Regulator against three electricity retailers.

    This action was initiated in March, after reports that some pensioners had been missing out on an electricity rebate from the State Government and were being wrongly charged for the ambulance levy.

    Mr Wilson referred the conduct of the retailers to the Regulator.

    As a result, three companies were issued with show cause notices – Origin, AGL and Queensland Electricity.

    The Minister also requested the Regulator direct all electricity retailers in Queensland to appoint independent auditors, at their own cost, to go through their billing systems with a fine tooth comb.

    The legal process against the third retailer – AGL – will be completed by the Regulator after receipt of its final audit report next week.

    “It is difficult to believe that within less than 12 months of consumers getting the right to choose their electricity retailer, these retailers would treat their customers in such a disgraceful and unacceptable way.

    “These retailers need to get the message loud and clear that the customers’ interests always come first. Action was needed, and action has been taken.

    “I back the Regulator fully in exercising his powers and I strongly support the action he has taken.”

    Media inquiries: Caroline Kaurila 3224 7332.