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Everyone pays the energy price

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Australians are learning daily of the full venality of a banking industry that has cheated customers, flouted regulators and created a market where nobody can be sure who is pocketing a hidden fee from their savings.

The testimony at the banking royal commission has shamed an entire industry and jolted politicians into planning tougher measures, with a natural focus on one sector alone.

The Australian Energy Market Commission report finds that consumer trust in the energy companies has fallen from 50 to 39 per cent in the last year.

But are financial advisers the only ones who take a cut as they pass consumers through a byzantine industry? The energy business is making all the same mistakes – and building a political timebomb for whoever takes power in Canberra at the next election.

The two industries are closer than they look.

What is the difference between a secret trailing commission collected by a financial adviser and a hidden fee claimed by an energy switching company that gets between a household and its electricity company? Both come out of a consumer's wallet. Only one faces intense regulation.

What is the difference between the complexity of the home loan market and the complexity of the household electricity market, which now comes with "discounts" that might not reduce your bill? Home loan offers are probably simpler.

It defies........

© The Age