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Spotlight on energy affordability and consumer outcomes

Energy Consumers Australia today welcomed the Victorian and Queensland governments putting practical ideas on the table to address electricity affordability.

CEO Rosemary Sinclair said consumers had made it clear they were not seeing good value for money outcomes for electricity and it was good news that governments were focusing on significant reform to improve affordability for consumers.

“The announcements in Victoria and Queensland today, and the intervention by the Prime Minister earlier in the week, indicate the seriousness of the electricity affordability situation Australian households and small businesses are facing”, Ms Sinclair said.

“What we are seeing is governments responding to the fact that electricity costs are becoming unmanageable and choosing the right offer is too complicated.

“The independent panel has identified shortcomings in the way the Victorian market is working and we will be closely considering the proposed measures to improve affordability, to make choices simpler and better support low income and vulnerable consumers in Victoria.

“This Report recognises that consumers want to be able to compare apples with apples, and be confident that they’re getting a good deal. They also want help available for those who are struggling to pay their bills and keep connected.”

Ms Sinclair said moves to establish a new retailer in Queensland would expand the range of options available to consumers, and improve competition, at a time when confidence in the market was low.

“Establishing a new retailer with a mission to provide a better, simpler service sends a strong message to existing retailers that they need to cut the complexity and focus on delivering real value for money to their customers.

Ms Sinclair said consumers wanted to see all governments working together to tackle energy affordability.

“We want to see that cooperative approach continue in the interests of consumers.”

“State and federal governments have done of a lot of work over the past 12 months and are clearly focused on putting their shoulder to the wheel to improve affordability outcomes for consumers now.

“While we go about implementing the Finkel review recommendations and wait for the ACCC inquiry into electricity prices, we also need practical measures that can provide immediate relief for households and small businesses.”

Energy Consumers Australia’s submission to the ACCC review into electricity prices is available here.

Energy Consumers Australia’s latest Energy Consumer Sentiment Survey is available here.

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