The Public Interest Advocacy Centre thanks all the speakers and attendees who participated in the Energy + Water Consumers’ Advocacy Program (EWCAP) biennial conference on Competition & Consumers.
The day sparked constructive conversations on the effectiveness of energy market competition for all NSW consumers. The conference attracted attendees from various community organisations, government agencies, state and federal regulators, energy businesses, and consumer representatives from across NSW as well as other jurisdictions.
PIAC would like to especially thank Mr Rod Sims, chairman of the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART), for his keynote address, discussing IPART’s recent review of regulated electricity prices, the role of effective competition in the NSW retail electricity market, and IPART’s views on enhancing consumer engagement in regulatory and review processes.
Mr Sim’s speech was a cornerstone for the day’s discussion, flowing into the afternoon panel session, which included presentations from Steven Graham, Chief Executive of the Australian Energy Market Commission, Clare Petre, NSW Energy and Water Ombudsman, Catriona Lowe, co-CEO of the Consumer Action Law Centre of Victoria, and Teresa Corbin, Chief Executive Officer of Australian Communications Consumer Action Network.
The conference also launched PIAC’s new research report, entitled Choice? What Choice? The report was produced by PIAC’s Policy Officer, Louis Schetzer, and was designed to assess how consumers experience electricity market competition in five NSW rural and regional areas.
The speakers, panelists and participants contributed to a robust discussion on the role of effective competition in the energy market and its relation with consumers. Presentations and discussions particularly addressed issues including door-to-door marketing, electricity price increases, affordability, household assistance, and consumer protection and engagement practices.
The Competition and Consumers conference provided a forum for relevant and meaningful debate at a crucial time in the NSW energy market, bringing together representation from a broad range of stakeholders to share valuable knowledge and build networks for further collaboration.