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Australia: Energy sector lacks competition says watchdog

 |  October 15, 2017

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has delivered its preliminary report examining retail electricity prices to the Turnbull government, providing yet more evidence of the woes besetting the energy sector.

It finds prices have risen up to 90% for consumers in the eastern states over the past decade. Residential prices increased 63% since 2007.

The ACCC found many households could not absorb these increases, especially those on lower incomes, with some people forced to cut spending on food and health to cover their power bills.

Similarly, businesses that couldn’t pass on higher costs told the watchdog they were considering cutting staff or moving overseas and some have closed.”It’s no great secret that Australia has an electricity affordability problem,” ACCC chairman Rod Sims said.

“What’s clear from our report is that price increases over the past 10 years are putting Australian businesses and consumers under unacceptable pressure.”

The main driver behind higher prices was network costs, – the poles and wires – with retailer costs and green schemes contributing to a lesser extent.

Nearly half a bill is made of network costs, another quarter due to retail margins and other retailer costs, and just seven percent the price of green schemes like feed-in tariffs and the renewable energy target.

Full Content: The Guardian

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