Hope on the way for more reasonable energy bills
UnitingCare Australia has welcomed new measures that will help ensure consumers are not overcharged for the power they need to live a decent life.
Commenting shortly after the Australian Energy Market Commission released its draft determination on the regulation of network service providers, UnitingCare Australia’s National Director, Lin Hatfield Dodds said the proposal gives more power to the regulator to act in the interest of consumers.
“Today’s announcement ensures the companies that provide this essential infrastructure don’t future proof their businesses at the expense of vulnerable citizens,” Ms Hatfield Dodds said.
“The cost of poles and wires is the single largest element of electricity bills and as consumers we expect to contribute to the cost of ensuring a reliable supply of energy.
“But under the current arrangements companies are allowed to recover anticipated infrastructure costs at a rate beyond what is reasonable.
“UnitingCare Australia has been actively involved in discussions aimed at reining in rising energy costs.
“Today’s announcement acknowledges the impact on consumers needs to be taken into account when setting prices and the new arrangements recognise that citizens need to be actively involved in setting those prices.
“Under the current arrangements too many consumers are living with energy stress: that is paying up to ten per cent of their income on power bills.
“When implemented, these measures will contribute to easing the burden on people on low incomes.
“While energy bills will not come down overnight, the new arrangements should ensure that the rate of price increase will be reduced over time.
“UnitingCare Australia is committed to ensuring everyone in Australia gets access to reasonable energy consumption at an affordable price”, Ms Hatfield Dodds said.
Submissions are due October 4 and the final determination is expected to be released in November.
The UnitingCare network provides social services to over two million people each year in 1,300 sites in remote, rural and metropolitan Australia. UnitingCare employs 35,000 staff and 24,000 volunteers.