Relief for family power bills welcome

The Energy Users Association of Australia (EUAA) has welcomed the New South Wales Government’s announcement that power price increases have levelled with the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal’s (IPART) 2013/14 draft determination proposing average price increases of 3 per cent. However, the Association has acknowledged business energy users are still struggling with increasing power bills.

EUAA chief executive officer Phil Barresi said government must have business power bills on their agenda.

“The EUAA encourages the government to undertake further regulatory reform and consider the network ownership model as a means of driving cost reductions for NSW businesses and other energy users,” he said.

“Soaring power bills for business will ultimately result in cost increases of goods and services for consumers as stressed businesses are forced to pass on their expenses through the supply chain.”

By engaging with industry bodies, the EUAA hopes government will be able to create policy initiatives that deliver affordable energy prices for the state’s businesses through the reduction of network costs. Specifically, the association hopes this will include the privatisation of the Networks Service Provider, reduce prices to reflect the State Government’s receipt of income tax equivalents and push for genuine consumer engagement in economic regulation of network service providers.

“There has already been a number of recommendations made by the Limited Merits Review Experts Panel and the Productivity Commission’s Review into Electricity Network Regulation that need to be encouraged by the Standing Council on Energy and Resources (SCER) to help reduce network costs,” Mr Barresi said.

Mr Barresi also said reducing network costs was only one of the issues on its agenda for NSW energy users.

“The pricing and supply of gas remains one of the unresolved and most challenging issues for governments,” he said.

Others issues for NSW energy users included the flow-on effects from high Queensland gas prices on NSW domestic and business energy prices and the impact of the carbon emissions.