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Media release

AER decision on network prices good for regional New South Wales

AER decision on network prices good for regional New South Wales

The Australian Energy Regulator today made its first decision since the abolition of the Limited Merits Review process, to finalise how much revenue an electricity network company can collect from consumers in New South Wales.

The decision published today by the Regulator effectively determines how much Essential Energy can spend to the end of 2019 on the maintenance and upgrades of the poles and wires in most of regional and rural New South Wales.

Energy Consumers Australia CEO Rosemary Sinclair said today’s decision was a win for consumers and puts more pressure on electricity retailers to announce prices reductions on 1 July.

“We’re seeing the costs of electricity coming down across the whole supply chain from the wholesale market, to networks and gas prices are also falling which means retailers must pass these savings on to consumers on 1 July,” said Ms Sinclair.

“With the cost of living pressures of Australians, lower electricity network costs are a necessary first step, but there needs to be continued and concerted efforts to bring about reductions in these costs to push electricity prices back down,” Ms Sinclair said.

Ms Sinclair said after a decade where their bills have almost doubled, people lack confidence that the energy market is working in their interests. To turn that around, they need to see evidence that prices will come back down.

“That means affordability must be a constraint on all our investments and decisions about energy – an explicit criterion in our decision-making up and down the supply-chain.”

“Existing and future investment in the power system – networks, generation and retail – must be optimised based on consumers’ demands that not one more dollar is spent than required, and new investments are not made one day earlier than is necessary.”

Ms Sinclair said other New South Wales network final revenue decisions for the 2014-2019 period are still to be made by the Australian Energy Regulator. Endeavour has proposed to return over $200 million to consumers and AusGrid is expected to submit a proposal to the Regulator on how much it will return to consumers in the coming weeks.

“In coming months, we will work with the Regulator, and other network businesses in NSW, Queensland, South Australia, the ACT and Tasmania on their revenue proposals for the next five years to ensure consumers pay no more than is required for efficient network services.”

Media Contact:Tim OHalloran 0409 059 617

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