Malcolm Turnbull is threatening to regulate Australia's energy retailers if they don't drop their prices

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. Photo: Niklas Hallen – WPA Pool/ Getty Images.

Prime minister Malcolm Turnbull has delivered another stern warning to the country’s energy retailers to drop their prices, and threatened more regulatory restrictions if they don’t.

At a meeting with the nation’s energy retailers on Wednesday, Turnbull said Australians are paying higher prices than ever before.

In some cases, Australians users pay more for local gas than in countries it’s exported to, such as Japan.

“Australians are paying, right now, too much for energy,” Turnbull said.

“There are millions of Australian households that are on plans that are the wrong plans… that are too high for what they can afford.”

He said the government and the retailers need to work together to get “a better deal for Australian families”.

“We know that, for example, the gap between the best and worst offers that a household can have can range from $900 to $1,500 a year depending on the household. And even within a particular company, with an individual company of yours, the gap can be between the best and the standard offer up to $400 a year.”

Turnbull said that it was in the retailers best interest to work together with the government to reduce prices.

“After all your customers, the consumers that you serve, they are the foundation of your business. We want to work with you to care for them.”

Energy Australia, Momentum Energy, Simply Energy, Alinta Energy, Origin Energy, AGL and Snowy Hydro were expected to attend the meeting, together with peak body the Australian Energy Council.

In March, Turnbull ordered the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to review Australia’s energy retailers and investigate whether margins and profitability are in line with their costs and risks.

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