Energy Advocacy News

Here is a snap shot of what has been happening in the energy advocacy area over the past month or two.
 
It has been a busy time in the energy sector this year, with the NSW and ACT electricity networks having their revenues for the next five years reviewed and set, as well as a number of important consultations about advanced meters and new tariffs.
 
If you would like to see the submissions put in on your behalf you can see them at the 'submissions' page.
 

Latest News - June 2015

 

Electricity


The Australian Energy Regulator has recently announced its final determinations on the revenue allowed to NSW and ACT networks over the period 2016 - 2020. The determinations provide for considerable reductions in the electricity bills of consumers in NSW and ACT for the next five years (suggested to be up to $300/year for the average residential consumer) by making cuts to the allowed revenue on network businesses ('poles and wires').


The determinations are currently subject to challenges by the networks (arguing that the deep funding cuts would lower service standards and so safety and reliability) as well as by the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) who argue that the determination allows too high a revenue and so supports inefficient networks.  They argue much bigger reductions in consumers' power bills are possible if the businesses are made more efficient.


Gas


Wholesale gas prices and the availability of gas supplies in NSW has been the subject of much discussion of late. The growth of the export market for liquefied natural gas (LNG) was expected to push up prices for domestic gas, as prices will be based on the export price (higher) rather than the domestic one.

The oversupply in the oil market and fall in oil prices has changed some of these predictions, but it is by no means clear what is likely to happen. 

The problem of a shortfall in gas supply does not seem that it will occur and all indications are that NSW will not have a gas supply problem. This will probably impact the coal seam gas (CSG) proposals being considered by the NSW government. 


Energy consumer engagement guidelines:


The Energy Advocacy project has published a set of guidelines to assist energy networks, retailers and businesses engage and consult CALD energy consumers. 

The guidelines, Cultural Connections - Engaging CALD energy consumers can be downloaded here and will provide a valuable resource for energy businesses when they are communicating with CALD communities. The guidelines also include four case studies of projects that worked and the methods they used. 


Submissions:


The Advocacy project has made a number of submissions on behalf of CALD consumers. The individual submissions can be accessed here.


New funding and projects:


The ECC NSW applied for funding from the newly formed Energy Consumers Australia (ECA) to provide advocacy and conduct research for CALD communities in the rapidly changing new products and services sector of the energy market.

We were successful with both grants and they will start after the current advocacy project funded by the Consumer Advocacy Panel (CAP) finishes in August 2015.