26 April 2018
The New South Wales Government-owned Essential Energy has been forced to admit it has overcharged families and business customers across the State – and promised to return the $98 million it has pocketed through lower prices in future years.
Labor Shadow Minister for Energy Adam Searle MLC uncovered the truth – and wants the Minister for Energy to explain why the government was determined to keep the over-charging secret.
Labor will now pursue the Minister to see if the other major energy companies, Ausgrid and Endeavour, have also over-charged.
Essential Energy is responsible for building, operating and maintaining Australia’s largest electricity network – delivering services to more than 800,000 homes and businesses across 95 per cent of NSW.
Essential has admitted it “over-recovered” (i.e. collected more in revenue than it should have) more than $98 million from regional customers already faced with high electricity prices.
It originally resisted a determination by the Australian Energy Regulator that it was charging far too much for its poles and wires distribution services.
But has now admitted that it has “over-recovered” $98 million on electricity bills and has committed to returning the money “by way of revenue adjustments” in the years 2019-24.
Quotes attributable to Shadow Minister for the Industry, Resources and Energy Adam Searle:
“High electricity prices are already hurting regional customers. But why has it taken a Parliamentary Inquiry into high electricity prices to uncover the fact that regional customers paid too much for their electricity?
“This is yet another example of the Liberals and Nationals failing regional communities. It took questions from the Labor Party to reveal the truth.
“I want the Berejiklian Government to come clean and tell the community if customers at the other electricity companies have also been paying too much.”
AER letter to the Legislative Council Committee informing them of a $98 million over-recovery by Essential: See page 3.
Essential Energy letter to the AER confirming that over-recoveries will be returned to consumers in the 2019-24 regulatory period. See page 2.