Report gives govt options for cutting electricity costs

A REPORT which gives the government "realistic" options for bringing down critically high electricity costs was revealed on Monday.

Commissioned by leaders from key community sand business groups including Choice, AI Group, the Brotherhood of St Laurence and the Energy Efficiency Council, the report also outlines where the biggest savings could be made.

It suggests about 50% of all electricity price hikes in the past five years can be directly linked to the cost of improving network infrastructure and "decisive action" is needed "to ensure networks are as costs effective as possible."

Paying consumers for reducing their electricity use during "super peak" periods is among the options the government is urged to consider.

The report was tabled before a Senate committee on Monday afternoon.

Meanwhile, Independent MP introduced a private members' bill as a bid to cut the prices consumers pay for their electricity.

The bill aims to cut costs, as well as improve the "safety, reliability and security of supply" of energy to homes and businesses.

While the bill took on board recent recommendations from the Australian Electricity Market Commission, it was unlikely to get wide support in the parliament.

The bill was referred to another parliamentary sittings day for more debate.

 

Key recommendations of report

  • Developing a proposal to set electricity distribution network companies minimum targets to reduce spending on new peak-driven infrastructure (poles and wires) through demand side activity.
  • Helping consumers to improve their energy efficiency and get more out of each dollar that they spend on electricity.
  • A robust system for protecting consumers, particularly vulnerable consumers. 
  • A stronger role for all consumers in the regulatory system, including a consumer advocacy body; and
  • A stronger system for regulating electricity networks, giving the Australian Energy Regulator more powers and the resources to use them, and better incentives for efficient investment.


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