Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Energy market reform the cure for power price pain

Clean Energy Council
20 Sep 2012

Rising electricity prices are hitting Australian households hard and energy efficiency and energy market reform is the key to easing the power price pain, according to the Clean Energy Council (CEC). In a submission to the Senate Select Committee on Electricity Prices, the CEC states the rules that underpin how the electricity industry delivers power to consumers do not adequately reflect the needs of consumers or the changing needs of our energy system.

"Australia, along with many other developed countries, is experiencing significant electricity price increases, with very real consequences for vulnerable households and businesses", said CEC Chief Executive David Green. "It's great news that the cost of moving to a more equitable and cleaner future for Australia is set to fall to less than 4% of bills by 2020. Getting the framework right to ensure network costs do not reach the forecast 55% of an Australian household energy bill is now essential", said Mr Green.

The submission also highlights that the National Electricity Objective, which is the basis of all decisions about our electricity market, does not currently consider the needs of electricity bill-payers, long-term economic factors or a clean environment. "Reform of the National Electricity Objective will allow the long-term interests of consumers to have far greater weight with regulatory decision makers", Mr Green said. "Now we need to get on with the job of making real changes to Australia's energy market that will deliver actual benefits to consumers in the form of more money in their pockets".

Mr Green said a smarter energy system will empower households to take control of their electricity use and reduce their bills. "Demand-reducing measures that would save people money-like smart technology that tells us how we use our energy-could be rolled out more widely to households, but for that to happen significant changes need to happen to the way our energy markets are regulated and managed", Mr Green said.

"For example, some energy providers in Victoria have launched web portals that allow customers to login and monitor their electricity use at different times of the day. In countries like Germany, you can already monitor your live home energy use from wherever you are using an iPhone app. "If our recommendations are adopted, the outcomes of the Select Committee's inquiry will unlock huge benefits to consumers in the shape of power bill savings and efficiency gains".

The CEC’s submission to the Senate Select Committee on Electricity Prices is available online at