CHOICE says fairer energy bills need cooperation from all governments
CHOICE has welcomed today’s focus from the Prime Minister on energy market reform, and says an overhaul of Australia’s energy sector is well overdue.
But the people’s watchdog has emphasised the need for cooperation – rather than governments blaming each other – as the only way to achieve genuine change.
“CHOICE has said consistently that Australia’s energy market is broken, that the kinds of price increases we have seen in recent years show the need for significant reform,” says CHOICE head of campaigns Matt Levey.
“Most urgently we need to remove the bias towards multi-billion dollar over-investment in poles and wires infrastructure, and take steps to reduce demand, especially at peak times.”
“This will require the Federal Government and the States to move beyond blaming each other and start fixing an energy sector that at almost every stage works against consumers’ best interests.”
CHOICE is calling for actions including:
- Reforming the National Electricity Market (NEM) to ensure more efficient investment in infrastructure, with much greater emphasis on reducing electricity demand.
- Full implementation of the National Energy Customer Framework (NECF), creating consistent and robust consumer protections, and better information for households.
- Fast-tracking the Federal Government’s energy information hub concept, empowering consumers with access to their own consumption data and encouraging genuine competition and product differentiation in energy retailing.
- A cost-effective national energy savings initiative scheme to help households reduce their energy bills.
CHOICE says there is a rare opportunity for Australia’s governments to turn unacceptable price increases into lasting energy market reform, and create an energy sector that works in consumers’ best interests.
 For example, research conducted by the Australian Alliance to Save Energy has shown that each dollar spent on demand management can save more than two dollars in avoided network infrastructure costs. See http://www.a2se.org.au/activities/research
 Only the ACT and Tasmania adopted the NECF on its 1 July 2012 start date, meaning consumers outside these jurisdictions are denied full use of the unbiased Energymadeeasy.gov.au comparison website, access to standardised fact sheets, and the protections and cost-savings of a nationally consistent regulatory framework.x