AGL hit with $40,000 in fines for disconnecting customers; Rate cut drives property auction clearance strength: Midday Roundup

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The Australian Energy Regulator has penalised energy retailer AGL for disconnecting customers in hardship or on payment plans, with AGL South Australia and AGL Sales both receiving a $20,000 fine from the regulator.

Energy retailers are prohibited from disconnecting customers under certain circumstances, including when they are participating in a hardship program or a payment plan.

However the Australian Energy Regulator said in a statement this morning, it was notified by AGL of incidents in which nine of the company’s customers were wrongfully disconnected from their electricity supply.

The penalties come just weeks after AGL South Australia was fined $700,000 by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission for giving false or misleading information to customers.


Rate cut drives auction clearance strength


Last week’s decision by the Reserve Bank to cut interest rates to a historically low 2.00% has spurred on another solid week of property auctions across the country.

RP Data recorded a preliminary national clearance rate of 78.2% on 2385 auctions at the weekend, with less than 400 homes passing in under the hammer.

The Sydney market again showed its unfaltering strength with an 88.7% clearance rate on 924 properties, while Melbourne cleared 938 of its 1064 auctions to log a clearance of 77.5%.


Shares down on open


Aussie shares are trading lower heading into lunchtime, despite early gains from a positive lead from Wall Street and further economic stimulus in China.

“The big news [came] out of China on Sunday, with the People’s Bank of China cutting official rates by 25 basis points,” said Tristan K’Nell, head of trading at Quay Equities, in a statement.

“We have seen a host of inconsistent and underperforming data on inflation, trade and manufacturing in the recent weeks, so the Chinese are taking action to fire up an economy, which while slowing from its peak, is still growing at 7%.”

The S&P/ASX 200 benchmark was down 2.6 points to 5632 points at 11.50am AEST. On Friday, the Dow Jones closed  267.05 points higher, up 1.49% to 18191.1 points.