Alinta Energy discounts misleading to consumers

Alinta Energy will be forced to compensate thousands of Victorians for making misleading electricity price comparisons.

Between December 2017 and February 2018, Alinta’s advertisements compared increases in its competitors’ standing or undiscounted tariff rates to decreases in Alinta’s discounted tariff rates.

The ACCC considered these comparisons were likely in breach of the Australian Consumer Law.

ACCC acting chair Delia Rickard said the ACCC was concerned the comparison was misleading as it gave a false impression of Alinta’s electricity price reduction, which for standing tariff rates was 1.8 per cent, not 2.8 per cent as advertised.

“Alinta’s conduct prevented customers from making informed choices about which electricity retailer best suited their needs,” Ms Rickard said.

“Businesses must not mislead consumers in advertisements comparing their prices or services to those offered by competitors.

“Following ACCC action, Alinta will contact all affected Victorian customers to advise that they will honour the advertised price reduction for customers who wish to continue with their plan.”

Alinta’s commitment to honour the 2.8 per cent tariff price reduction will be provided through credits backdated from January 12 until July 11, 2018, and also through adjusted rates which will apply from July 12 for the next six months.

Alinta has also implemented a review of its advertising processes and conducted refresher training in the Australian Consumer Law for relevant staff.

As a result of the ACCC’s investigation, Alinta acknowledged the ACCC’s concerns, immediately ceased the advertising campaign and has undertaken to compensate affected customers.