Simply Energy fined for switching customers without consent

Simply Energy has been been fined $60,000 by the Australian Energy Regulator for failing to obtain explicit informed consent before switching customers to new contracts.

The AER alleges on three separate occasions customers who received Simply Energy telemarketing calls either did not understand the nature and the purpose of the call, or did not have the capacity to provide the proper consent.

Affected customers included residents of a nursing home and a retirement village.

“While active competition between energy retailers can help customers get a better deal, the explicit informed consent provisions of the Retail Law provide fundamental protections to stop retailers unlawfully switching customers who have not been made fully aware of what they are agreeing to, or indeed who have not agreed at all,” AER chair Paula Conboy said.

“Protecting vulnerable consumers and promoting confidence in the retail energy market are ongoing priorities for the AER.

“Where we see evidence of retailers failing to comply with their obligations, we will take appropriate enforcement action.”

The alleged conduct occurred in New South Wales in 2015 and Simply Energy reported the incidents to the AER in accordance with its reporting obligations.

Simply Energy previously paid penalties of $80,000 in 2015 in relation to alleged breaches of the explicit informed consent obligations in 2014.