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Underwriting New Generation Investment: Submission

Energy Consumers Australia appreciates the opportunity to comment on the Department of the Environment and Energy (Department) Public Consultation Paper on Underwriting New Generation Investment of October 2018 (Paper).

Energy Consumers Australia is the national voice for residential and small business energy consumers. We were established by the Council of Australian Governments (the Energy Council) in 2015 to promote the long-term interests of households and small businesses with respect to price, quality, reliability, safety and security of supply.

In this submission we comment on the Government’s proposal for underwriting new generation investments. We see this consultation as a part of a broader response to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) Retail Electricity Pricing Inquiry recommendations, and the ongoing implementation of the Finkel Blueprint which includes the development of an Integrated System Plan (ISP). A strong, coordinated process is needed to implement these reforms, reset the market, and deliver the significant bill savings that are promised for consumers.

Our consideration of the matters raised in the Paper is informed by Energy Consumers Australia’s strategic framework for the transformation of the energy system and market:

  1. Affordability must be a constraint on investment and decisions about energy – an explicit
    criterion in decision making up and down the supply chain.
  2. Energy services must be built around individuals to reflect their own unique circumstances,
    enabling people to easily manage their own use and costs – whether that is consumers who
    are innovating and engaged; the majority of consumers who are focused on affordability and
    costs; and consumers with vulnerabilities.
  3. Investment in the power system – networks, generation and retail – must be optimised and
    based on consumers’ demands that not a dollar more is spent than is necessary and not one
    day earlier than needed.

The full submission can be read here.

Additional advice received from Finncorn can be read here.

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