The number of companies trying to push up their prices and blaming the carbon tax is below expectations, Australia’s competition watchdog says.


There were 1260 carbon price-related complaints from July 1 until Tuesday last week and 630 in the first 10 days after the introduction of the tax.

“We were geared up for various overflow … but it’s been a lot less than we expected,” Australian Competition and Consumer Competition (ACCC) chairman Rod Sims told the Ten Network on Sunday.

“We were always concerned that on July 1 people would try and use the focus on it (carbon price) to get price increases.”

But Mr Sims said he expected the issue to remain one for the ACCC for another six to nine months as the cost increases flowed through to businesses through power bills.

The ACCC had done a lot of compliance work which had paid off, he said.

Some companies had quite happily mentioned the carbon price where it had affected their prices when it came to energy, refrigerants and landfill.

“That’s perfectly legitimate,” Mr Sims said.

Asked if he would enforce price changes if the coalition won government and the carbon price was repealed as promised by Opposition Leader Tony Abbott, Mr Sims said he would.

“It’s our job to enforce the law, it’s the government’s job to set the law,” he said.

But he said the ACCC only had a role where customers were misled rather than price control power right across the board.

Mr Sims said complaints to the watchdog were mainly about scams, communication and energy markets because they were complex products, and supermarkets.