GetUp! must declare commercial interest: AEC

Activist group GetUp! should declare its commercial interest in the retail electricity market when it advocates against businesses with which it is in a rival commercial relationship, the Australian Energy Council (AEC) said.

GetUp!’s recently released report, Australia’s retail electricity markets: who is serving whom, singled out AGL, Origin and EnergyAustralia, without disclosing the commercial incentive it has to encourage customers to switch away from those businesses.

GetUp! has a commercial relationship with energy retailer Powershop and receives revenue for every customer who switches away from a major retailer.

AEC chief executive Matthew Warren said he had serious concerns about the credibility of GetUp!’s report, for example, that it does not appear to have taken into account discounts offered by retailers in competitive markets, which in NSW and Victoria range from 15-35 per cent.

“Like any organisation or individual, GetUp! has the right to advocate on energy policy issues,” he said.

“However, like the businesses or organisations it seeks to hold to account, it also has a responsibility to be transparent, given its profitable commercial relationship with a major competitor of the businesses it criticises.

“Activism has an important role to play in society. Most activist groups eschew commercial links for the very reason that it compromises their integrity and confidence in the authenticity of their campaigns.”