Carbon Tax Information

LIKE MANY OTHER AGL customers I’ve recently received a very strange text message:

AGL estimates average electricity savings of 7.8% off NSW AGL residential bills by removing the carbon tax. See agl.com.au/carbon for details.

When I queried it, AGL’s twitter account informed me that the law required them to send it:

@AGLenergy: @liamvhogan Hi Liam - these are courtesy SMSs on upcoming price changes to your account. We're obligated by law to advise you ~Thanks, Matty

Now I was curious to find out whether that was actually the case. The relevant part of the National Retail Energy Law in my state (NSW), Division 4B (Carbon Tax Information), has a whole lot of requirements that retailers have to abide by in informing consumers about the carbon tax. It was always a fairly cynical exercise, passed by the State Government in the leadup to the 2013 election, and I’ve gotten familiar with (and used to ignoring) the notice on my electricity bills.

As an aside, the clause I’ve always particularly liked is this:

(d) the information must be displayed in Arial font with a font size of not less than 12 points, in the red colour known as Pantone 186C and appear with no other words against a white background within a border.

(Pantone 186C is, of course, also known as ‘Chinese Red’, and was associated with the Beijing Olympics.)

I’m stumped if I can find any provision in that piece of legislation or in any other that requires my electricity company to go on providing what’s effectively a political advertisement straight to my telephone. Anyone?

UPDATE: The Competition and Consumer Law 2010 requires retailers to prepare statements of the carbon tax repeal impact (no less of a frankly political requirement), but I still can’t see the requirement to actually distribute such information outside actual billing?

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