NSW electricity price deregulation: harnessing the benefits for consumers

The Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) welcomes the NSW Government’s plan to reduce electricity prices for consumers.

‘The NSW Government is committed to ensuring ‘full and robust competition in the retail electricity market’. If this objective is achieved, this should lead to lower power bills for NSW households,’ said PIAC Chief Executive Officer, Edward Santow.

‘A well-implemented process for deregulating electricity prices will allow more competition in the market. That, in turn, should reduce power prices,’ Mr Santow said.

‘PIAC welcomes the likely wider range of tariffs offerings, including for time-of-use pricing. Such options can give consumers more control over their electricity spending, provided that sufficient consumer protections are available for consumers who have little control over their electricity use,’ Mr Santow said.

Before the process of deregulating the electricity market takes effect on 1 July 2014, PIAC calls on the NSW Government to review the current suite of customer assistance measures for disadvantaged and vulnerable energy consumers.

‘In NSW, concessions currently average 10% of electricity bills. This compares with 16% in Victoria. Deregulation provides the perfect opportunity to review what concessions and rebates are needed to assist NSW households who are struggling to pay their electricity bills,’ Mr Santow said.

With deregulation, it’s also time to re-consider the fees that retailers charge consumers.

‘Retailers should no longer be allowed to charge early termination fees as these fees actually hinder competition by making it more expensive for consumers to change retailers. In addition, late payment fees should be abolished because they affect vulnerable and low-income consumers most regressively,’ Mr Santow said.

Photo: Flickr

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