Big Electricity Switch campaign director Christopher Zinn. Picture: Toby Zerna Source: The Daily Telegraph
MORE than 34,000 households and small businesses turned anger into action by joining The Daily Telegraph’s People Power campaign for more affordable electricity.
The campaign aims to neutralise price rises caused by the carbon tax.
Federal Treasury estimated the “price on pollution” will add as much as 10 per cent to bills from July 1. But using People Power, we hope bulk discounts of at least 12 per cent can be negotiated.
And yesterday, as the campaign launched, demand for a better deal was such that there was a registration every four seconds between 6am and 6pm.
Then when TV ran stories on the plan, the sign-up site – www.bigelectricityswitch.com.au – went into meltdown as support surged towards 15,000.
SUPPORT THE CAMPAIGN HERE
Households can register to join in the deal by logging on HERE by midnight on July 15
The original target was to gather 25,000 registrations within a month.
That goal was reached at 9.20am today.
Leading consumer advocate and One Big Switch campaign director Christopher Zinn said: “We’re incredibly energised by the enthusiasm of people right around Australia to put their hand up and want to be part of something different. The numbers speak for themselves.
“People feel incredibly frustrated and powerless with what’s happening, and here’s one thing they can be part of. It’s not a magic bullet, but it can hopefully offer a little relief.
“That’s very exciting.”
Signatories to the campaign are not obliged to switch power provider. They can use it to negotiate a better deal with their existing supplier.
While NSW households have had the ability to change electricity retailers since 2002, the practice has only just taken off due to market privatisation last year and the emergence of more substantial discounts.
According to the Australian Energy Market Operator, 20 per cent of NSW customers – about 660,000 – have switched in the last year compared to just 12 per cent in March 2011.
Meanwhile new research from global energy think tank VaasaETT shows four Australian states – NSW, Victoria, Queensland and South Australia – were now among 10 regions with the highest “churn rates” last year. NSW was 10th on that list. And about 1.2 million families are still on default regulated rates.
IPART chairman Dr Peter Boxall said more than 40,000 consumers searched for better energy deals on the regulator’s electricity price comparison website www.myenergyoffers.nsw.gov.au since January. “IPART encourages NSW energy consumers to compare offers from retailers and ensure they have the most appropriate, and cost-effective, service for their needs,” he said.
Power comparison website GoSwitch.com.au chief executive Ben Freund said changing was an easy process that could save hundreds of dollars.
“There are highly informed people in the community who simply don’t know what their options are or there’s a reluctance to change. Some people think they have a relationship with their power provider which is absurd,” he said.
“It’s very easy to switch, over the phone or a website.”
A poll at thetelegraph.com.au yesterday found almost 90 per cent said they would be willing to switch power providers to beat the carbon tax.