Friday, 2 November 2012

Productivity Commission report’s consumer focus applauded

Clean Energy Council
18 Oct 2012

A new Productivity Commission draft report is heading in the right direction with its recommendations on making the electricity market more consumer-oriented, the clean energy industry body said today.

"The Electricity Network Regulation Frameworks report reiterated the fact that the spiralling costs of electricity networks-the 'poles and wires'-have driven the huge increases in electricity prices over recent years", Clean Energy Council Chief Executive David Green said.

"The report rightly highlights that some 25% of retail power bills goes towards meeting just 40 hours of peak energy demand per year-which usually correspond to those times on really hot days when everyone gets home and turns on their air-conditioners. "We welcome the Productivity Commission's view that the best way to manage peak demand is to put more control in the hands of the consumer.

"We agree with the report's recommendations that reforms are now urgently needed including the effective introduction of smart meters, appropriate time-based pricing for critical peak periods, and the phased removal of retail price regulation alongside suitable consumer safeguards".

Such reforms would enable consumers to take charge of their own power bills by making informed decisions on when and how they used power, and to be rewarded for avoiding peak times. "As the report states, such reforms should reduce network costs and enable consumers who use low amounts of power during peak times to avoid paying for those who use a lot", Mr Green said.

"The more control we can give consumers in deciding when and how to use energy and from what sources-including their own, such as domestic solar-the quicker Australia's transition to a cleaner and more efficient energy system, which is good news for everyone".