Lumo Energy has been fined $10,800 by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission for blaming the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) for price hikes on retail gas tariffs - that were actually a a commercial pricing decision made by energy company.
Lumo call centre staff told "a number of consumers" in February 2016 that the AER was responsible for increased bills.
"It’s important that energy retailers take responsibility for their commercial decisions, especially those which may be detrimental to consumers, rather than attempting to shift blame onto regulatory organisations like the AER," ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said.
"Energy customers rely on retailers to provide accurate information. Consumers are entitled to make informed decisions about their energy use and choice of provider."
The ACCC says it issued the infringement notice because it had reasonable grounds to believe that Lumo had contravened the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) by making a false or misleading representation with respect to the price of its retail gas tariff.
It is worth noting that the payment of a penalty specified in an infringement notice is not an admission of a contravention of the ACL. The ACCC can issue an infringement notice "where it has reasonable grounds to believe" a person has contravened certain provisions of the ACL.
Lumo is a retail energy provider wholly owned by Snowy Hydro Limited, operating across South Australia, Victoria, Queensland and New South Wales.