New research from CHOICE shows electricity is the expense household decision-makers are most concerned about despite low awareness of why prices have increased.
The nationally representative survey of over 1,000 Australians shows that people are most likely to place the responsibility for reducing electricity bills in the hands of governments, compared with other stakeholders.1
CHOICE has provided the research to the Federal Parliament’s inquiry into electricity prices, and is calling on energy ministers to adopt major reforms before the end of 2012.
“Since 2007, the average NSW household’s electricity bill has more than doubled to around $2,200, and the main driver of that – over $650 a year – is the multi-billion dollar price tag of electricity poles and wires,” says CHOICE head of campaigns, Matt Levey.
“Moves to help households switch electricity providers, like banning exit fees, are welcome, but they are no substitute for doing the heavy lifting and putting a stop to the wasteful spending that is pushing up electricity costs,” Mr Levey says.
CHOICE’s recommendations to reduce the pressure on household bills include:
- Changing the regulation of Australia’s energy networks to stop wasteful spending and reduce peak electricity demand;
- Creating strong national protections and providing better tools for energy consumers, including giving households access to their own consumption data; and
- Putting in place a national program to help households with energy efficiency savings, with the potential to save households up to $296 a year in 2020.
CHOICE is appearing before the first public hearing of the electricity inquiry tomorrow in Sydney, and will tell Senators that Australian consumers are demanding urgent action.
“Too many of the incentives in our energy sector are set against Australian consumers’ best interests,” Mr Levey says.
“For example, the regulator recently revealed that between 2006 and 2010, more than half a billion dollars was over-recovered by energy networks at the expense of Victorians. 3
“At the same time, we have spent $11 billion on energy infrastructure that is only used four days out of every year. This is clearly a broken system, and our governments need to cooperate and ensure we never see these sorts of cost increases again,” Mr Levey says.
CHOICE has launched a new campaign, Take the Power Bank, helping Australian consumers to communicate directly with their state and federal energy ministers about the need for reform. Consumers can send their energy ministers a message at www.choice.com.au/takethepowerback
CHOICE’s submission to the Senate Select Committee on Electricity Prices can be accessed at: https://senate.aph.gov.au/submissions/comittees/viewdocument.aspx?id=ad93d71a-2eaf-4509-8bd9-3ce95e45fc61