Electricity cost is main household concern in Australia, survey finds


Matt Levey,
CHOICE head of
Marrickville, Australia — (METERING.COM) — September 27, 2012 – Electricity is the expense household decision-makers are most concerned about despite low awareness of why prices have increased, a new study from Australia’s people’s watchdog CHOICE has found.

Further, most of them are likely to place the responsibility for reducing electricity bills in the hands of governments, compared with other stakeholders.

The survey covered over 1,000 Australians nationwide, with almost half attributing the increasing electricity prices to increasing profits for energy companies and almost a quarter to a ‘carbon tax’, despite it not having been introduced when the research was conducted.

“Since 2007, the average NSW household’s electricity bill has more than doubled to around $2,200, and the main driver of that – over $650 a year – is the multi-billion dollar price tag of electricity poles and wires,” says CHOICE head of campaigns, Matt Levey. “Moves to help households switch electricity providers, like banning exit fees, are welcome, but they are no substitute for doing the heavy lifting and putting a stop to the wasteful spending that is pushing up electricity costs.”

The survey results have been provided by CHOICE to the federal parliament’s inquiry into electricity prices, with a call for energy ministers to adopt major reforms before the end of 2012.

CHOICE’s recommendations include changing the regulation of Australia’s energy networks to stop wasteful spending and reduce peak electricity demand.

Strong national protections should be created, and better tools provided for energy consumers, including giving households access to their own consumption data. A national program should also be put in place to help households with energy efficiency savings, with the potential to save households up to $296 a year in 2020.

CHOICE has also launched a new campaign, Take the Power Back, aimed at helping consumers to communicate directly with their state and federal energy ministers on energy sector reform.