Electricity reform welcome: consumers need to retain a strong voice in electricity price-setting

The Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) has welcomed the Australian Government’s proposed reforms to reduce electricity bills, and emphasised the importance of consumers retaining a seat at the table in electricity network price determinations.

‘For too long Network businesses have undermined the Australian Energy Regulator’s (AER) regulatory process through the limited merits review system. PIAC has argued for some time that the system was in need of major reform to prevent cherry picking and windfall gains to Networks,’ said Craig Memery, Team Leader of PIAC’s Energy and Water Consumers’ Advocacy Program.

‘However, consumers must continue to have a central role in all electricity pricing decisions, with or without limited merits review.

‘Abolishing LMR will mean that any appeal from the AER’s decision will be by way of judicial review in the Federal Court. Consumers must be given a right of standing before the Federal Court in these cases so that the voice of consumers is heard.

‘We look forward to working with the government to ensure consumer views are front and centre in the electricity network price-setting process.’

PIAC has been an active participant in both limited merits review and judicial review processes of network pricing decisions. PIAC was a party to the recent New South Wales reviews and has also provided legal advice to consumer groups in Victoria and South Australia.

‘PIAC will continue to advocate for the interests of consumers in network pricing decisions and looks forward to engaging constructively with the government on these reforms’, said Mr Memery.

MEDIA CONTACTS: Media and Communications Manager, Gemma Pearce: 0478 739 280 or EWCAP Team Leader, Craig Memery: 0412 223 203.

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