Australian Energy Regulator report on retail operations released for 2016-17

Tasmanian customers have bucked a trend set by other states who have all seen complaints to their energy providers decline.

But the level of complaints, contained in a report recently released by the Australian Energy Regulator, sees the state maintain the lowest of all the states at four per 100 people.

The complaints mostly relate to bills and a small portion to transfers.

An Aurora spokesman said the marginal rise in complaints did not reflect customer service performance, including an increased satisfaction rating from businesses and a reduction in call centre waiting times.

He said many complaints related to wholesale and network costs which were outside the company’s control.

TasNetworks received 505 customer complaints which was lower than other distributors.

The regulator also found the state’s average energy bill was higher than the other states at $2032 – or 8.5 per cent of a low-income household’s earnings.

This was due to the state’s households having an average higher consumption than those on the mainland.

It said this was somewhat offset by $494 to those eligible for concessions.

Tasmania had the highest amount of people receiving energy concessions at 38 per cent of the customer base.

The regulator found that the ACT had the cheapest energy costs, Queensland had the lowest cost increase for 2016-17 at 2.7 per cent, and New South Wales the largest at 10.6 per cent.

Tasmanian customers had 3.5 per cent added to their power bill over the same period.

The regulator noted that the average debt under Aurora Energy’s hardship program had risen by $72 to reach $1339.

Seventy-eight per cent of these customers received concessions already.

For other customers with debt, the average had risen by $17 to $756.

The number of customers disconnected for not paying their power bills was down for the year to 1016 users.

Tasmania has 9517 fewer Pay As You Go customers than a decade ago with 23,641 customers using the system.