Regulation will unlock competition in Western Australia

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Western Australian electricity customers will be better off under national energy reforms to be introduced by the State Government, according to Energy Networks Association (ENA). The association’s chief executive officer John Bradley welcomed the update by Treasurer and Minister for Energy Mike Nahan, saying the government is taking the right steps to reform the state’s challenging electricity market for both households and businesses.

“As the engine room of the Australian economy, WA urgently needs a modern electricity market and regulation to unlock competition and put downward pressure on prices,” Mr Bradley said.

There was strong national support for the Government’s integrated reform program to introduce national regulation of network services, full retail competition and new measures to encourage competition in generation, according to Mr Bradley.

“WA customers will benefit as the Australian Energy Regulator draws on the industry benchmarking and performance analysis being used across the rest of Australia,” he said, acknowledging the state has internationally high rates of solar penetration, an expensive fleet of large generators and massive geographic area for its electricity network.

“The Government’s reform would help to remove barriers to innovation and new providers. It has incredible potential to lead the nation in smarter, more efficient energy services, including substituting network infrastructure with distributed resources where that saves money.”

Retailers should be competing on the price and service benefits they can offer consumers and rewarding people who reduce peak demand, according to the ENA, with Mr Bradley adding Australia “needs two energy regulators about as much as it needs separate rail gauges in each state”.