A Consultative Reference Committee, chaired by Mr Unsworth, has been established to test the impacts of the proposed privatisation of the NSW electricity industry. PIAC’s submission to the Committee argued the privatisation debate needed to be more transparent; that the social and environmental objectives of state owned corporations, rather than private companies, better serve consumer and public interests, and; that privatisation would disadvantage certain consumers, such as rural consumers, who are not protected by the competitive electricity market.However, if privatisation does proceed, PIAC recommended that proceeds be used to fund an Electricity Consumers’ Fund to compensate consumers affected by higher prices and to enable energy efficiency programs to be accessible to all residential consumers. PIAC also recommended that a number of consumer protections be introduced, including tighter regulation of the marketing and selling of electricity products, and the elimination of a variety of fees, such as Retailer of Last Resort transfer fees and early termination fees.
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