PIAC’s Energy + Water Consumers’ Advocacy Program (EWCAP) has been closely following the NSW Cabinet’s decision to take to the next NSW election the 49% sale of the NSW electricity networks (aka the ‘poles and wires’) under a 99-year lease.
While PIAC does not advocate a particular position in relation to ownership, if the long-term lease goes ahead, it should be undertaken together with several other policy changes that would result in significant improvements to consumer protections and affordability.
‘At the same time as the Government’s scoping study for the long-term lease of the networks, a review of the NSW concessions regime would be of great value to low-income and vulnerable consumers especially if it considered the option of proportional rebates,’ said Dr Gabrielle Kuiper, EWCAP Senior Policy Officer.
‘The Government might also consider a permanent fund to assist low-income consumers with energy efficiency and permanent consumer advocacy funding in NSW.
‘We would also suggest the NSW Government consider updating the consumer protections in NSW, at least to the standards in Victoria,’ added Dr Kuiper.