This submission responds to the Australian Energy Market Commission’s (AEMC) Consultation Paper National Electricity Amendment (Distribution Network pricing Arrangements) Rule 2014. The Consultation Paper seeks stakeholders view on changes to the National Electricity Rules related to network pricing arrangements, proposed by The NSW Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) and the Standing Council on Energy and Resources (SCER). In the submission, PIAC gives qualified support to SCER’s proposals regarding increased obligations on networks to consult with consumers about their annual tariffs and prices. PIAC sounds a note of caution about the proposal to charge more ‘cost reflective’ prices for network services. PIAC notes that this change could see bills increase dramatically for consumers living in isolated areas. PIAC also asserts that residential consumers will not move the location of their consumption in response to price signals about where excess network capacity exists, as this would require total upheaval of their lives, with high transaction costs, in exchange for little benefit. Finally, the submission supports the SCER proposals to strengthen certain restrictions on variations in network pricing from year to year.
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