Australian Energy Regulator Shows Privatisation Is a Win for Consumers

“The Australian Energy Regulator (AER) draft determination and benchmarking data shows that privatised electricity networks are more efficient and deliver lower prices to consumers,” Business Council of Australia Chief Executive Jennifer Westacott said today.

Ms Westacott welcomed the AER’s draft determination for network businesses in New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory which, if applied, could represent up to a 10 per cent reduction in retail electricity prices for consumers in these regions.

“Though not final, we are encouraged that the AER has sought to exercise its power to ensure more efficient service delivery for electricity consumers. If implemented, the AER estimates the average household electricity bill in these regions could fall by around $159 to $356 next financial year.

“These determinations clearly highlight the gap between privately owned and operated assets and government-owned assets, as they are based on the benchmark of efficient operation of network businesses against each other.

“The benchmarking data shows privatised assets, such as Victoria’s and South Australia’s networks, are far more efficient than publicly owned networks, such as those in New South Wales and Queensland.

“This should be welcomed by a New South Wales Government firmly focused on the long-term goal of delivering a more efficient economy, more efficient electricity network and savings to consumers.

“It is important that in finalising this determination, consideration is given to closely scrutinising unnecessary cost shifting towards replacement of assets, while balancing this with the need to ensure a reliable supply of electricity can be met.

“Additionally, the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) has today released new rules requiring network business to set tariffs that provide consumers with greater choice in their use of electricity. This could mean a further reduction in electricity bills of around $28 to $145 for households and a reduction of $2,000 for small businesses.

“Energy is a key source of comparative advantage for Australia, but in the past decade we have let this advantage slip.

“The AER’s draft determinations, benchmarking data and the reforms to network tariffs by the AEMC all reinforce that we must continue to reform the electricity sector, and that through proper processes we can deliver better outcomes for consumers,” said Ms Westacott.

For further information contact:
Matt Newton, Communications Adviser
Business Council of Australia
Telephone (03) 8664 2627 • Mobile 0409 550 578