PIAC clears first hurdle in landmark legal challenge to electricity network prices

The Australian Competition Tribunal has granted the Public
Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) leave to proceed with its case on electricity
prices in NSW. This means the Tribunal will re-consider the revenue decisions
of three NSW electricity networks companies (Ausgrid, Endeavour Energy and
Essential Energy).

PIAC’s legal challenge to reduce electricity bills for
consumers will now go to a full hearing, expected to start on 21 September.

‘The Tribunal’s decision is encouraging for consumers,’ said
Edward Santow, CEO of PIAC.

‘The Tribunal accepts that there are important questions to
be determined about how electricity prices will be set in NSW over the next
five years.’

PIAC believes that the Australian Energy Regulator’s 30
April decisions allow the NSW electricity networks to operate inefficiently
over the next four years, keeping electricity prices unnecessarily high for

PIAC will argue that the AER has failed properly to implement
the rules on the costs that can be charged to consumers to run our electricity
network, and on the electricity networks’ borrowing costs.

If PIAC’s challenge is successful, the average household electricity
bill could be reduced by more than $150 next year below the regulator’s

At the same time, the three network businesses are seeking
an extra $5.6 billion from consumers, potentially raising the average NSW bill by
around $420 next year.

‘The COAG Energy Council initiated substantial reforms to
try and make electricity network pricing fairer. For the first time, consumers
are part of the limited merits review process.

‘PIAC has launched this appeal seeking better outcomes for electricity
consumers – to achieve the aim that the reforms were intended to deliver,’ Mr
Santow said.

Media and Communications Officer, Gemma Pearce: 0478 739 280.

From left: Oliver Derum, Dr Gabrielle Kuiper and Julia Mansour.

Pin It on Pinterest