ACCC weighs in on energy debate
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) Chairman, Rod Simms, has called for focus in the country’s ongoing energy reform debate, saying it must address the ‘real drivers of the unnecessary electricity price increases’ in Australia.
Speaking at the Energy Users Association of Australia Annual Conference, Mr Simms said that the debate must be focused on three main issues – changing the flawed regulatory rules, fixing the Merits Review process and allowing the regulatory process to set reliability standards to be met by network businesses.
The calls come as prices continue to increase, with the average price having increased by 90 per cent in nominal terms.
“While there have been many causes of the recent large increases in electricity prices, the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) along with other regulators such as IPART in NSW, have been warning for many years about these three issues driving significant and unnecessary increases in the price of electricity for Australian business and consumers,” Mr Simms said.
“The response to these issues from some in industry is to blame the AER for the recent electricity price increases. There is a simple logic to be applied here; if the three issues driving the unnecessary price increases are properly understood, how can anyone blame the AER for rising electricity prices? If these three issues are not understood, then how can we address them?
“Changes need to be made and their effective implementation is crucial. For effective implementation we need to rely significantly on the AER, the regulator that has raised and championed these issues,” Mr Sims said.