Re-regulating energy retail would hurt consumers

Consumers will be the big losers under any plan to re-regulate energy prices in Victoria, the energy industry said today.

Media reports today suggest the Victorian Government is considering the radical step of re-regulating electricity and gas prices. 

Australian Energy Council GM Corporate Affairs, Sarah McNamara, said "de-regulation of retail energy markets is not the cause of higher electricity bills.  The high prices being paid by Victorian consumers are largely the result of a shortage of generation.  Re-regulation won’t fix this problem. 

"Re-regulation would kill competition and send most smaller energy retailers to the wall.  It would also undermine the increased use of renewables and the development of innovative products which support consumers.

"We need open and competitive retail markets to discover how consumers can shift their demand to better match energy being supplied by technologies like wind and solar. 

"We should also learn from the lessons of the UK, where government intervention delivered less choice for consumers and higher retail prices.

“The energy industry is keen to work with the Government on options for improving the operation of the Victorian energy market.  A decision to re-regulate the market would be a radical step that has not been tested with any of the key stakeholders, and has significant unintended consequences. 

“The Victorian energy market needs policy stability and a focus on the delivery of new, stable generation in order to counter the volatility of the next few years.  The Victorian Government's continued support to this end will deliver the best outcome for Victorian consumers.”

 

About the Australian Energy Council

The Council represents 21 major electricity and downstream natural gas businesses operating in competitive wholesale and retail energy markets. These businesses collectively generate the overwhelming majority of electricity in Australia and sell gas and electricity to over 10 million homes and businesses.