$325k fine for misleading energy plan discount claims

A POWER company faces a $325,000 fine for misleading consumers in South Australia about discounts on their energy plans.

After the consumer watchdog took court action against Origin Energy last year, the Federal Court has ordered the fines related to "DailySaver" energy plans it promised residents.

The court found Origin made representations to consumers on its website and in packs sent to consumers promoting the plans, that they would get a discount up to 16% off the company's energy usage charges or electricity and up to 12% off its gas charges.

But the Court found the promotions were misleading or false, as the rates used to calculate the charges, to which the discount was applied, were actually higher than standard retail contract rates.

The case was a win for the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, with chairman Rod Sims saying Origin had misled consumers about the actual discounts offered.

Mr Sims said electricity contracts remained a "priority" for the watchdog, and the commission was focussing on energy retailers who engage in false and misleading claims especially on discounts.

The court also ordered corrective notices be placed in a major South Australian newspaper, and payment of some of the ACCC's costs.


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