Consumer Action has welcomed the Essential Services Commission (ESC) imposing $500,000 in penalties on energy retailer Sumo Power Pty Ltd for wrongfully disconnecting hundreds of families in the lead up to Christmas 2020, smack in the middle of the COVID 19 pandemic.
“In December 2020 we received calls to our helpline from distressed individuals who had been unfairly cut off by Sumo Power. Unlawful practices of disconnection put people’s health and wellbeing at risk and should be punished,” said Patrick Sloyan, Senior Policy Officer, Consumer Action.
In fact, according to the ESC, what Sumo Power was scheming was worse than what emerged in media stories at the time.
“It is frankly deplorable that Sumo Power, with the approval of its Board executive management, created a business target of disconnecting more than 1500 customers between the start of November and Christmas 2020.
“The $500,000 penalties should serve as a warning to other power retailers, noting new laws that will come into effect this year that will increase the penalties that can be applied, up to $1,090,000 per offence. Once these new laws apply, it will also be open to the ESC to seek criminal penalties and sanctions against the likes of Sumo’s Board and management given their level of awareness and promotion of this awful conduct,” said Mr Sloyan.
“Well done to the ESC for imposing a fine, atrocious corporate behaviour must have consequences”.