SA electricity challenge faces hurdles

The South Australian Council of Social Service (SACOSS) is disappointed with today’s decision by the Australian Competition Tribunal which prevents SACOSS from continuing its legal challenge of the Australian Energy Regulator’s (AER) decision about SA Power Networks Revenue but consumers can be reassured they will still be saving money.

In a hearing of the Tribunal in Melbourne, the Tribunal did not grant SACOSS leave to appeal the AER decision. The granting of leave had been opposed by both the Regulator and SA Power Networks. 

‘Our participation in this legal challenge so far has ensured consumers have had a voice in this important process. We were pleased to see SA Power Networks withdraw its biggest ground of review and this significantly reduced the additional revenue sought by SAPN, effectively saving consumers $250 million,’ SACOSS CEO Ross Womersley said.

‘Today SACOSS was seeking the opportunity to put to the Tribunal an alternative position to that of SA Power Networks on a series of other matters, seeking greater accountability for SAPN’s operating expenditure,’ Ross Womersley said.

The Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC), which has represented consumers in recent Tribunal challenges regarding the NSW electricity distribution networks, is acting for SACOSS in the legal challenge. 

‘This decision raises the bar for consumers seeking to have a say in this crucial legal process. Electricity prices have risen exponentially in recent years, hurting low-income households the most.  Consumers should be able to make a case for more efficient operating expenditure by the network business and thus more affordable power prices,’ said PIAC CEO, Edward Santow. 

‘We commend SACOSS for its willingness to be involved in these types of legal challenges – to ensure networks and the AER are taking the interests of consumers seriously in revenue proposals and in the merits review process. We encourage other consumer organisations to have their say in the SAPN review through the Tribunal’s community consultation process,’ Edward Santow said.


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

SACOSS CEO Ross Womersley: 0418 805 426

Tania Baxter SACOSS Communications Officer: 8305 4227 or 0432 902 105

(Photo: Flickr/ My Japan)

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