Energy subsidies skew the market which the generators are still gaming: Bernardi

July 13, 2018

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has made a series of recommendations in a report, released this week, which it believes could help reduce electricity bills by up to 26 per cent.

The report has been welcomed by Conservative Party leader Cory Bernardi, but with some qualifications.

The final Retail Electricity Pricing Inquiry report, released by the Commission earlier this week, includes a set of 56 recommendations, detailing ways to fix the National Electricity Market.

These recommendations include such measures as replacing the current retail offers (which are not the same between retailers) with a new consistent offer set at a price determined by the Australian Energy Regulator; requiring retailers to reference any discounts to the new ‘default’ offer pricing to make it easier for consumers to genuinely compare offers; and introducing a mandatory code for comparator websites so that offers are recommended based on customer benefit, not commissions paid.

“The National Electricity Market is largely broken and needs to be reset. Previous approaches to policy, regulatory design and competition in this sector over at least the past decade have resulted in a serious electricity affordability problem for consumers and businesses,” ACCC Chair Rod Sims (pictured) said.

The ACCC estimates its recommendations, if adopted, could result in electricity cost savings of between 20 and 25 per cent for the average household and an average of 24 per cent on the electricity bill for small and medium businesses.

“Many small to medium businesses operate on very small margins, and cannot afford the increases to their costs that have occurred over past years,” Mr Sims said.

Commercial and industrial customers, the heaviest users, could see electricity costs decrease on average by 26 per cent.

Senator Bernardi has told 2GB's Chris Kenny government subsidies - combined with the market-rigging and monopoly behaviour of power companies - are combining to drive up power bills.

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