01.Not a 'box-ticking exercise'
Rod Sims, Chairman of the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission (ACCC) has made a strident call for action to deal effectively with factors causing rising electricity bills.
He has also stated that the matter of separating the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) from the ACCC is a distraction from the real issues surrounding electricity price rises.
Speaking at an energy users’ conference in Sydney on 24 October, Mr Sims stated that the size of recent electricity prices has been a “significant burden on all Australian electricity users” and that “while there have been legitimate drivers for some increases, prices have also increased for a number of unnecessary and inappropriate reasons.”
Mr Sims noted that “the rising costs of the electricity network, however, have been the main contributor to price increases in all states, accounting for between 40 – 50 per cent of the price increases over the past five years”
He stated that consumers have been charged an additional $3 billion approximately because of network businesses’ ability to “cherry pick” decisions made by the AER. NSW consumers beared the lion’s share of this amount with $2b of this due to NSW network businesses being given a more generous amount in relation to their cost of borrowing.
Mr Sims also stated that there is a need to ensure that processes in place are not just “‘box ticking’ exercises”.
CHOICE CEO Alan Kirkland welcomed Mr Sims’ comments, saying there had been no compelling arguments put forward for separating the AER from the ACCC, and that the debate was a distraction from the real issues driving unacceptable price rises for consumers.
“We need an energy regulator that has strong enforcement powers that puts consumer interests at the heart of its work,” Mr Kirkland said.
You can tell your Federal and State energy minister that you want more than a ‘box ticking’ exercise and that you want them to take urgent and effective action to stop increasing electricity bills and not just tinker around the edges.
You can also join our campaign by becoming a campaign supporter.