Electricity consumers need practical help

One Big Switch welcomes the federal government’s Energy White Paper and the electricity reforms it advocates.

Deregulation, ending gold-plating, the use of in-home technology, and time-of-use metering are worthy long-term goals.

However, our organisation believes these reforms must be complemented with key consumer-focused reforms that will help consumers control bills.

The reality is too many consumers are paying more than they should for electricity because shopping around for a better deal is complex and hard.

Several consumer focused reforms that could be implemented in the short term include:

* Greater price transparency, to make it easier for consumers to compare electricity plans;

* A mechanism for consumers to access their own electricity usage data quickly and easily; and

* A commitment to allow the best of technologies to work directly in consumers’ interests. 

One Big Switch is calling on the federal government to tackle the consumer end of the electricity reform challenge not just the structural end.

Structural reform is important, and will help consumers pay less in the overtime but consumers want help controlling bills now, not just in years to come.

Bill shock is hitting homes around the country right now, and we need to take some quick, practical steps to help all those consumers who are still paying way too much for electricity because they find shopping around too hard.

There’s a risk we can get caught up in long-term arguments over privatisation and gold-plating of networks at the expense of consumer focused action. 

CHRISTOPHER ZINN

DIRECTOR OF CAMPAIGNS

ONE BIG SWITCH CONSUMER NETWORK

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