AEC: Re-regulating energy retail would hurt consumers

Consumers will be the big losers under any plan to re-regulate energy prices in Victoria, according to the Australian Energy Council.

Following reports this week that the Victorian Government is considering re-regulating electricity and gas prices, Australian Energy Council general manager of corporate affairs Sarah McNamara said “de-regulation of retail energy markets is not the cause of higher electricity bills”.

“The high prices being paid by Victorian consumers are largely the result of a shortage of generation. Re-regulation won’t fix this problem,” she said.

“Re-regulation would kill competition and send most smaller energy retailers to the wall.

“It would also undermine the increased use of renewables and the development of innovative products which support consumers.

“We need open and competitive retail markets to discover how consumers can shift their demand to better match energy being supplied by technologies like wind and solar.

“We should also learn from the lessons of the UK, where government intervention delivered less choice for consumers and higher retail prices.”

Ms McNamara said re-regulating the market would be a “radical step” with significant unintended consequences.

“The Victorian energy market needs policy stability and a focus on the delivery of new, stable generation in order to counter the volatility of the next few years,” she said.

“The Victorian Government’s continued support to this end will deliver the best outcome for Victorian consumers.”