Energy Consumers Australia (ECA) and the Queensland Consumers Association (QCA) have welcomed the ACCC’s Preliminary Report for its Electricity Supply & Prices Inquiry.
In his Preliminary Report, ACCC chairman Rod Sims has confirmed that the electricity market is not working as it should and not delivering good value for money outcomes for consumers. The QCA says this confirms what consumer/community groups and the public have been saying for years.
The ACCC has found: there is a severe electricity affordability problem and insufficient competition; price deregulation has benefited some consumers and hurt others; the market is exceptionally complex; and consumers face many difficulties and obstacles in engaging with the market.
According to ECA CEO Rosemary Sinclair, the report assesses the health of the National Electricity Market from a new and unique vantage point, based on extensive consultation and company data not in the public domain.
“This is the most thorough assessment of the electricity market in a very long time and it will provide the evidence base for government policy reforms,” Ms Sinclair said.
“Consumers lack confidence in the retail market and are searching for control to contain costs. While many are switching, about half have never switched and for those who have, they often do not believe they ended up better off.
“This report sheds new light on why prices are increasing, identifying significant issues around network costs, concentration and structure, and the way that retailers are presenting offers and interacting with consumers.
“The report identifies the key areas where work is needed to improve value for money outcomes for consumers.”
QCA spokesperson Ian Jarratt says this very comprehensive study is highly relevant to all Queensland households including those in regional Queensland (where there is negligible competition between retailers and prices are regulated) as well as those in south east Queensland (where retailers compete and prices are not regulated).
However, the QCA is concerned that the ACCC has not considered the need for, and benefits from, a Victorian style compensation scheme for consumers wrongfully disconnected due to retailer error or non-compliance with legal requirements. The QCA will be making a written submission on the ACCC’s preliminary report and encourages other organisations and individual consumers to do so to.
Ms Sinclair said the ongoing ACCC review, coupled with the Finkel Blueprint provides a platform for positive change.
“We now need to pursue the issues identified by Rod Sims, and reconcile, sequence and prioritise the implementation of the Finkel Blueprint, and numerous State Government reviews to re-build trust and confidence with consumers that the market can deliver a better value outcome for consumers.”
ECA Media contact: Tim O’Halloran – 0409 059 617
QCA Media contact: Ian Jarratt – firstname.lastname@example.org, 07 3719 5475 or 0448 012 482