Australia's largest energy class action filed
Australia’s largest energy class action has been filed in the Federal Court of Australia. The claim was filed by the law firm Piper Alderman on behalf of over 40,000 electricity customers.
The QLD Energy Class Action is a legal claim being brought against two Queensland state-owned electricity generators, alleging that they manipulated the electricity pricing system and artificially inflated consumers’ electricity bills.
The class action was initiated on 18 June 2020 by Piper Alderman and is funded by LCM (an Australian litigation funder). The action is brought on behalf of anyone who paid for electricity in Queensland at any point from 20 January 2015 to 20 January 2021 and who has registered to participate.
The majority of registrants are residential energy customers. However, there are also over 1600 businesses registered. These comprise ASX listed companies, industrial users of electricity and SMEs.
The claim is seeking damages on behalf of registered participants only; however, Piper Alderman has indicated that it will apply to join new registrants to the action providing a final opportunity for electricity consumers to join the action if they wish. Registration is via a dedicated website (www.QLDEnergyClassAction.com.au). The QLD Energy Class Action is being carried on a ‘no win, no fee’ basis and legal costs are covered via a litigation funder, which means it costs nothing to join.
“There is a lot of complexity in electricity generation and power prices. Our team has spent over 2 years investigating Stanwell and CS Energy’s unlawful conduct,” said Greg Whyte, head of Piper Alderman's Dispute Resolution and Litigatio Team in Brisbane.
“The unlawful conduct occurred at the generation stage, and your retailer simply passed that cost through to consumers. This is why this action is available to all Queensland businesses and residents.
“The facts indicate, and we will seek to prove, that the defendants manipulated the wholesale cost of electricity for their own profit. It amounts to a hidden tax paid by Queenslanders.
“We brought this action on behalf of Queensland-based businesses and households who have all been affected. The conduct of Stanwell and CS Energy has had a devastating effect on the Queensland economy.
“Queenslanders who paid for electricity between January 2015 and January 2021 are invited to visit www.QLDEnergyClassAction.com.au to register for the action. I encourage them all to join,” Whyte said.
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