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This submission responds to the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal’s (IPART) draft report, Review of regulated retail prices for electricity, 2013 to 2016.
In this submission PIAC strongly objects to IPART’s proposal to increase the Customer Acquisition and Retention Cost (CARC) on the regulated price for electricity. This increase would be between $52 and $84 for an average household, without which customers in the Essential Energy network area would not have seen an increase in electricity prices for this determination.
PIAC’s submission strongly objects IPART’s proposal to increase the CARC, especially considering that the Energy Purchase Cost Allowance (EPCA) already sets the price of electricity above the amount that retailers actually face. PIAC posits, in this submission, that such cost allowances above the efficient cost of electricity does not serve the long-term interests of consumers. Additionally, it is not warranted at a time where the NSW retail market is transitioning to full price deregulation.
Current proposals to increase the CARC, PIAC submits, risks stifling innovation and further consolidating large Standard Retailers’ market power. The submission recommends that the NSW Government immediately increase the Life Support Rebate and the budget for the Energy Accounts Payment Assistance (EAPA) scheme to assist vulnerable customers cope with continuing high costs for the essential services of electricity.