Australia's competition regulator said on Friday it had started proceedings in the Federal Court against EnergyAustralia, the country's third-largest power retailer, for allegedly providing misleading electricity price information.
Between June and September 2022, EnergyAustralia failed to state the "lowest possible price" - a mandatory estimate of the amount a customer would be charged in a year - in price change notices to customers, the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) said.
The commission said EnergyAustralia, owned by Hong Kong's CLP Holdings, made false or misleading representations in annual cost estimates that it provided to customers in price change notices, thereby breaching the Australian consumer law.
"We have commenced this court action because we allege that EnergyAustralia's conduct made it harder for people to accurately compare their electricity plan with offers from other retailers," ACCC Chair Gina Cass-Gottlieb said in a statement.
"We have been open with the ACCC on the issues they identified and the importance we attach to clear, transparent communications to our customers," EnergyAustralia said in an email to Reuters.
The power retailer said actions to address customer communication programme at the firm were already underway.
The ACCC has been cracking down on big Australian companies in recent times, including a lawsuit against Qantas Airways for allegedly selling tickets on thousands of already-cancelled flights.
The regulator is seeking penalties, declarations, costs, and other orders against EnergyAustralia.
(Reporting by Himanshi Akhand and Ayushman Ojha in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by John Biju; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)