Piper Alderman partner Greg Whyte is developing the firm's $1 billion class action against Stanwell and CS Energy, claiming the companies gamed the market to boost profits.
Piper Alderman partner Greg Whyte is developing the firm's $1 billion class action against Stanwell and CS Energy, claiming the companies gamed the market to boost profits.

Sick of power prices? Class action promises $600 a home

COURT action on Queensland power prices has been boosted in what promises to be the nation’s biggest ever free class action.

One Big Switch has partnered with Brisbane law firm Piper Alderman which launched the class action earlier this year against Stanwell Corporation and CS Energy, claiming an average payout of $600 per household.

It is alleged both government-owned energy generators deliberately inflated power prices for their own profit.

Anyone who paid an electricity bill in Queensland between August 2014 and December 2019 is eligible to join in the obligation free court case.

Organisers have calculated that 1.2 million Queenslanders are eligible to join the class action, which hopes to be Australia’s biggest ever, with more than 30,000 registrations.

A Piper Alderman spokesman said the net claim for an average household would be approximately $600.

“For the 13,176 current registrants, that represents 7.9 million dollars for Queensland homes,” the spokesman said.

“One Big Switch’s 30,000 registrations target will represent $18 million for Queensland homes.”

A screenshot of the class action website by Brisbane Law firm Piper Alderman.
A screenshot of the class action website by Brisbane Law firm Piper Alderman.

The spokesman said joining the class action was entirely cost free with no financial risk to the registrant.

“Both residential and commercial customers can join and maintain anonymity at all times,” the spokesman said.

One Big Switch is one of Australia’s leading forces for energy bill savings.

One Big Switch’s David Liston said with 235,000 members in Queensland, it was calling on all consumers in the state to join the class action.

“1.2 million Queensland homes paying too much for their electricity bills is 1.2 million too many.

“That’s why One Big Switch is supporting this class action wholeheartedly.

“We love a people power campaign.

“If we can reach 30,000 total registrants this will be the biggest energy class action in history. “Queenslanders pay big enough bills without inflated prices.

Piper Alderman’s Greg Whyte welcomed One Big Switch’s partnership.

“It’s great to have one of Australia’s biggest consumer groups behind this class action,” he said.

“The more Queenslanders who join, the better.

“For individuals or businesses who join, there really is nothing to lose.”

Stanwell Corporation refuted Piper Alderman’s claims of abuse of market power in a statement on July 24.

“If Piper Alderman and LCM commence proceedings against Stanwell, as they are threatening to do, Stanwell will vigorously defend its conduct in the appropriate forum, the courts,” the statement said.

“Stanwell has an impeccable record of compliance with all of the laws and rules which govern our conduct within the National Electricity Market.

“Piper Alderman and LCM have, we believe, been very selective in their publication of out-of-context snippets from detailed and complex regulatory reports.

“Stanwell is very proud of the work our people do every day to generate electricity and make it reliably available to our ultimate owners – the people of Queensland.

A CS Energy spokeswoman said the company extremely disappointed by the proposed class action by Piper Alderman and its privately-funded backers, LCM Finance.

“We are a proudly Queensland-owned and based company that provides power to some of our state’s biggest industries and employers,” the spokeswoman said.

“More than 500 of our staff live and work in the Queensland communities where we operate, and we will continue to support them and the customers who rely on us to power their operations every day.

“Our number one priority, as always, is to safely deliver reliable and competitively-priced electricity to power our economy – Queenslanders have had the lowest average wholesale electricity prices in the National Electricity Market for the past three years.

“We will continue to provide jobs and opportunities that support Queensland families and businesses.”

Joining the QLD Energy Class Action on the website is cost and obligation free.

Related stories:

Govt and opposition weigh in on power class action

Power price ‘ripoff’: Chance to join Queensland class action

‘Simply not true’: War of words between law firm, providers



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