AGL Energy Limited (AGL) today announced that Victorian concession card holders who are on a standing offer will receive an automatic 10 percent discount on their electricity usage rates as part of an ongoing program to improve services and support for vulnerable customers.
The automatic 10 percent discount will come into effect from 1 January 2016 and will save these customers on average $100 on their annual electricity bills. Customers will remain on a standard retail contract with no change to their terms and conditions. The automatic discount is being trialled in Victoria only at this stage.
In December last year, after extensive consultation with community representatives, AGL made a public Affordability Commitment to dedicate $6 million over three years to enhance the services and support for vulnerable customers. One of the insights from the community sector was that some vulnerable customers may not have regularly reviewed their plans. It was recommended that a simple product which delivered a competitive rate would be a positive step forward.
General Manager Marketing and Retail Customers, Mark Brownfield, said the introduction of an automatic 10 percent discount on electricity usage rates would help make power bills more affordable for customers facing short or long term financial difficulties.
“AGL recognises the benefits of ensuring vulnerable customers have access to competitive electricity rates. We have identified 26,000 standing offer electricity customers who are concession card holders who do not have a discount applied to their account. These customers will automatically receive savings on their bills from next year.
“The automatic discount will help make power bills more affordable without any additional action required. We would, however, encourage customers struggling to pay their bills to contact us to access some of the other components of AGL’s hardship program, such as referral to financial counselling services and home energy visits, which can provide valuable assistance,” said Mr Brownfield.
This is part of a whole program of measures which aims to deliver improved products and services for AGL customers. Other changes include the introduction of a fixed rate product, AGL Fixed™, the removal of early termination fees on all new contracts and supporting a policy proposal from St Vincent de Paul Society for retailers to gazette standing offers on the same day.
AGL Fixed™ lets gas and electricity customers lock in an energy rate that is completely protected from prices rises for two years, giving customers absolute certainty around energy costs knowing their rates will not be impacted by annual price changes, including changes to network charges.
“We know customers want more control over their energy bills to help them to manage their household budget. For customers looking for greater certainty about future energy costs, a fixed rate plan may be a good alternative.
“When choosing an energy plan, we encourage customers to consider which plan best suits their individual circumstances. This automatic concession discount is specifically designed for those vulnerable customers who may not have taken steps to secure discounts. We also encourage customers to regularly track their energy usage through the new AGL app or our online energy tracking tool, My AGL IQ™,” said Mr Brownfield.
For more information on energy plans visit http://www.agl.com.au/residential/energy-plans/ or call 131 245.
AGL is one of Australia's leading integrated energy companies and is the largest ASX listed owner, operator and developer of renewable energy generation in the country. Drawing on over 175 years of experience, AGL operates retail and merchant energy businesses, power generation assets and an upstream gas portfolio. AGL has one of Australia's largest retail energy and dual fuel customer bases. AGL has a diverse power generation portfolio including base, peaking and intermediate generation plants, spread across traditional thermal generation as well as renewable sources including solar hydro, wind, landfill gas and biomass. AGL is taking action toward creating a sustainable energy future for investors, communities and customers.