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SA consumers launch legal challenge to reduce electricity bills

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Energy Consumers Australia

Through its grants program, ECA provided funding to SACOSS to enable SA consumers to appeal the AER decision on SA Power Network’s revenue for 2015-2020. ECA also provided a grant to the Public Interest Advocacy Centre, to facilitate its appeal against the NSW networks. ECA views these processes as interconnected – ECA will take the learnings from an action in one jurisdiction to the next, to communicate national outcomes. In addition, ECA has funded increased legal capacity in PIAC to support consumer advocates throughout the NEM in AER processes.

In providing a strong consumer voice, SACOSS’ and PIAC’s interventions will assist the Australian Competition Tribunal make its decisions in the long-term interests of consumers, and result in materially preferable outcomes.

Below is the media release from SACOSS.

 

South Australian consumers launch legal challenge to reduce electricity bills

 

The South Australian Council of Social Service (SACOSS) is launching a landmark legal challenge that has the potential to significantly reduce household electricity bills in South Australia over the next five years.
The Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) is acting for SACOSS in a legal challenge to the Australian Energy Regulators (AER) recent electricity network revenue decision for SA Power Networks, which operates the electricity distribution network in South Australia.

Spokesperson for SACOSS, Dr Greg Ogle said,

This is a big, unprecedented step for SACOSS, but we are concerned about the impact of massive electricity bills on vulnerable and disadvantaged
households, and as our application suggests, we believe there are significant problems in the AERs decision.

SACOSS is appealing the decision that determines how much SA Power Networks can spend on infrastructure the so-called poles and wires. SACOSS
is disputing the corporate operating costs allowed, as well as the rate for providing a return to investors in SA Power Networks business.

These costs are important because they are passed through to South Australian consumers.

SACOSS estimates that, if its appeal is successful, it would lead to savings for average residential consumers of about $150 over five years.

The South Australian appeal follows a similar appeal in NSW, for which the decision is expected by 22 December 2015.

PIAC CEO Edward Santow said,

“It is clear that the revenue granted by the AER to SA Power Networks is excessive, forcing consumers to pay more than is efficient for network services

“Electricity prices have risen exponentially in recent years. We know that consumers are suffering, especially those on low and fixed incomes. The
law requires expenditure to be efficient and we dont believe the final determination reflects efficient costs for consumers”.

For further information/comment, contact:
Dr Greg Ogle – Acting SACOSS Executive Director 0409 096 519

Marnie Round – SACOSS Communications Officer 0423 767 015

Gemma Pearce – PIAC Media and Communications Officer 0478 739 280


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