GetUp, Lock the Gate earn commissions from anti-CSG campaign

ACTIVIST groups GetUp and Lock the Gate are making money from their joint campaign to get locals to dump electricity retailers involved with the coal-seam gas industry.

GetUp's own website reveals the non-profit group receives a commission for every person who switches to their recommended retailer, Powershop, also endorsed by Greenpeace as the "greenest" electricity retailer in Australia.

And Lock the Gate regional coordinator Elly Bird has confirmed the anti-gas group also receives commissions from its campaign in conjunction with GetUp to dump the "dirty three" electricity retailers in favour of Greenpeace-endorsed retailer Powershop.

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Ms Bird said the money earned from the campaign would be put back into the group's efforts to fight coal-seam gas.

An article published on the BRW website on Wednesday quoted Powershop Australia chief Ben Burge saying more than 6000 of Powershop's 38,000 customers had come directly via the GetUp campaign, which has now partnered with Lock the Gate.

The article noted that GetUp was also engaged in a telesales campaign to encourage people to switch.

While the retailer's alliance with GetUp was great for Powershop's business, it had the potential to damage GetUp's impartial brand, although so far it didn't seem to be a problem.

GetUp spokesman Matt Levinson told The Northern Star the organisation's members had wholeheartedly embraced the deal.

"We've said front and centre with our members that's there's a commission from Powershop as part of the switching process," Mr Levinson said.

"Our members have come back and said to us it's a win-win-win: they get cheap residential power, they get the greenest power, and they also get to have their money go towards our campaigns for action on renewable energy and climate change.

"We've seen remarkable high numbers switching."

He said GetUp's campaign ultimately wanted to put pressure on the big retailers to change their ways.

"What we really want to see is those energy retailers doing the right thing, we know Australia could switch to renewable energy if it wanted, the problem is those big energy retailers fighting it."

Oil and Gas lobby group APPEA (Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association) has hit back at the deal, with a spokesman saying while there was a brief disclosure in the FAQ section of GetUp's website about the commission payments, there was no indication as to how much was being paid.

"People should be wary of taking financial advice from a self-described grassroots advocacy organisation," the spokesman said. "Vilifying Australian companies for financial advantage plunges the energy debate in Australia to a new low."

Perhaps it's GetUp's aggressive campaigning that is getting on APPEA's nerves.

GetUp refers to the target of its campaign - Australia's three biggest energy retailers, Origin, AGL and Energy Australia - as the "Dirty Three".

"That's because they've been lobbying to weaken Australia's Renewable Energy Target, while investing their customers' dollars in dirty coal, gas and coal seam gas," the GetUp website says.