Conference: Creating fairer energy and water markets for all

The Public Interest Advocacy Centre’s Energy + Water Consumers’ Advocacy Program (EWCAP) will hold its biennial conference on 9 October 2013 in the Sydney CBD. 

The conference, entitled Creating fairer energy and water markets for all, will investigate the safeguards and strategies needed to achieve equitable access to electricity, gas and water.  

Creating fairer energy and water markets for all is an opportunity to learn more about:

  • developing a market that can deliver fair outcomes for rich and poor and those in-between 
  • the level of choice consumers have in utility markets given that ceasing to consume is not a viable option 
  • sharing the responsibility to reduce disconnections and bill shock 
  • how utility providers can work to increase positive outcomes for energy & water consumers.

Dr Richard Denniss, Executive Director of the Australia Institute, will deliver the keynote address. As the head of an independent policy organisation that promotes new solutions and ways of thinking, Dr Denniss is well placed to explore the elements needed to foster energy, water and utility markets that are accessible to all. 

Creating fairer energy and water markets for all will also see the launch of PIAC’s recent research report focusing on the social impact of utility disconnection. This report, Cut Off III, is the third in a series of research reports investigating people’s disconnection from electricity, gas and water and market. For the first time, this research has found that people in the workforce are just as likely as pensioners and the unemployed to be disconnected from energy and water services. In a period where annual electricity disconnections exceeded 20,000, this work reveals the human stories behind these increasingly concerning statistics. Cut Off IIIplaces this work within the policy context and the conference will consider recommendations for the future. 

Representatives from the community sector and utility providers will come together for a morning Panel Presentation entitled,Social policy to the rescue? The focus of this interactive session will be to ask whether social policy can deliver equity to utility markets and to explore the role of energy and water providers play in keeping utilities accessible. Members of the audience will be invited to join the discussion as the majority of the session will follow a Q&A format. Panel members include : 

  • Kerry Edgecombe, Manager of Pricing and Policy at Sydney Water;
  • Alison Peters, Director of the Council of Social Service NSW (NCOSS); and 
  • Carolyn Hodge, PIAC Senior Policy Officer Energy & Water.

The afternoon will begin with a session exploring how consumers fare in energy markets that no longer include price regulation. Deregulating the Victorian energy market: was it good for you?, will include discussions by two leading Victorian energy advocates: 

  • Gavin Dufty, Manager Policy and Research at the St Vincent de Paul Society will speak about deregulated prices, what people are paying for and ways consumers can benefit by exploring energy offers; and 
  • Jo Benvenuti, Executive Officer at the Consumer Utilities Advocacy Centre, will share her experience of the deregulation of the Victorian energy market focussing on the tools needed for consumers to get the best from what is on offer. 

The afternoon session will feature a panel discussion of the safeguards needed to facilitate energy and water markets that deliver benefits to consumers. Confirmed speakers for the panel include :

  • Alan Kirkland, CEO of Choice; and
  • Oliver Derum, PIAC Policy Officer Energy and Water. 

View the conference program

Venue: 

University of NSW Sydney CBD Campus 

The venue is wheelchair accessible

Refreshments: Tea, coffee and lunch are provided. 

Cost 

Staff of Not for profit organisations $60.00

Individuals $60.00

Corporate Delegates $120.00

Government Delegates $120.00

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Reduced registration fees and subsidised travel may be available upon request. Please contact Carolyn Hodge for more information.

Photo: Flickr

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