SA voters reject privatisation of energy network

Western Power, transmission, Jemena, TransGrid, RERT, distribution networks, transmission

New research from The Australia Institute has shown that South Australians consider the privatisation of their energy network to be the number one reason for the increasing cost of electricity. Price gouging from power companies was considered the second most likely cause of increasing energy costs, according to the survey.

Key findings:

  • 40 per cent of South Australians blame privatisation of the state-owned electricity provider as the single biggest reason for power price increases, while three out of five people (60 per cent) consider it to be one of the main sources of upwards pressure on prices.
  • Price gouging from energy companies was the number one concern for one out of every three South Australians (34 per cent)
  • Increased renewable energy (eight per cent), increasing costs of fossil fuels (six per cent), uncertainty about national energy policy (five per cent), a lack of interconnection to the Eastern states (four per cent) and heatwaves (four per cent) were all far less likely to be considered a cause of increasing costs.

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This helps to explain why, in previously released polling, privatisation was one of the most unpopular options for budget repair in South Australia and suggests the government’s choice to privatise the operation of Adelaide Metro trains and trams may be an unpopular one.

“South Australians generally take a very dim view of privatisation,” The Australia Institute’s SA projects manager Noah Schultz-Byard said.

“With a strong belief that privatisation leads to price increases in the energy sector, it’s no surprise that some are voicing concern about the same thing happening with public transport.

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“Despite a concerted effort from some to erroneously blame renewable energy for high electricity costs in South Australia, most people in the state believe privatisation is the main cause of increasing prices.

“These numbers should be of major concern to any political party seeking to pursue a privatisation agenda in South Australia.”

Read the full report here.

A polling brief, including detailed results, is available here.