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Executive summary

On a daily basis, community-based financial counsellors deal with electricity and gas providers on behalf of customers who are struggling financially, and witness firsthand the efficacy or otherwise of hardship practices across different industries. The 2014 Rank the Energy Retailer survey provided an opportunity for Victorian financial counsellors to rank the policies and practices of energy retailers for customers experiencing financial hardship. 111 financial counsellors contributed to the survey, representing 62% of the sector.

With a 70% market share, the ‘big three’ energy retailers – Origin Energy, AGL and EnergyAustralia - service the largest proportion of energy consumers in financial hardship5 and were therefore the primary focus of the survey. The survey also captured selective data on the second and third tier retailers. Survey questions covered financial counsellors’ and customers’ interactions with energy retailers in relation to financial hardship matters and rated them on communication, processes, attitudes and outcomes for the customer.

This report summarises the results of the survey and increases the transparency of how energy retailers treat small to medium energy consumers in financial hardship.

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