Thursday, 8 November 2012

Senate inquiry powers up consumers

Clean Energy Council
1 Nov 2012

The Clean Energy Council has welcomed a call by the Senate Select Committee on Electricity Prices to introduce an increased focus on empowering consumers to take control of their power bills, as well as removing the barriers to the introduction of technologies such as solar power. Clean Energy Council Chief Executive David Green said the Senate committee inquiry report, released today, was a valuable step in encouraging politicians, industry and consumer groups to work together on reforming Australia's electricity system.

"Vulnerable consumers and businesses are struggling with their electricity bills. This inquiry process shows how technologies like solar power and solar hot water can help to protect people from rising power prices," he said. "But we now have a situation where consumers are getting paid below the fair value for their solar electricity, for example. The recommendation in the report to remove barriers to greater use of solar power, cogeneration and tri-generation is a recognition of the importance of these technologies. "Solar power contributes significant value to the electricity system, but this hasn't been properly recognised by state governments in recent times."

Mr Green said energy efficiency technology was a particularly cost effective way to help households cut the bills while doing all the things that are necessary to bring up a family or stay comfortable in cold or hot weather.

"Energy poverty continues to be a serious problem for many ordinary Australians. We need effective actions that enable communities to cut the size of power bills by not only becoming highly efficient producers and users of energy, but also having access to high quality, impartial information about the easiest ways to save money and make better use of customer-driven technologies such as smart meters," said Mr Green.

"Australia needs a cleaner, smarter and more affordable electricity system and there are no easy or silver bullet solutions. The Senate committee is to be congratulated on the work it has done to inform the political action that we need to deliver a major reform process."