Media Release

23 February 2019

Today the Federal Liberal National Government said it would introduce a default electricity price – directly contradicting the NSW Liberals’ and Nationals’deregulation approach.

In 2013 the NSW Liberals and Nationals deregulated retail electricity prices, but the Morrison Government’s policy would re-regulate retail prices.

The Morrison Government would only do this after the upcoming state and federal elections.

Shadow Minister for Energy, Adam Searle, said the Liberals and Nationals both in NSW and Canberra are not serious about fixing the mess they created in our electricity system.

“Who should we believe? Are the Liberals and Nationals for more regulation or against regulation – are we to believe the Federal Coalition, or the NSW Coalition?”

In June 2017, NSW Labor announced it would re-regulate the retail electricity market, including a fair priced default offer set by an independent regulator to stop consumers being ripped off.

“The Liberals and Nationals have had plenty of time to adopt Labor’s plan, but have repeatedly refused to. Now in the shadow of State and Federal elections, where the community is white hot with anger at high electricity prices, the Liberals and Nationals will say anything.

“If the Federal Liberals and Nationals were serious about reducing electricity prices they would have already acted. Instead Morrison is letting households pay higher bills by saying he will only deliver if re-elected.

“Premier Berejiklian and her colleagues have had eight long years to fix the problem of high electricity bills they created by privatising the electricity system and deregulating retail prices. This has led to a 60 per cent increase in electricity prices here in NSW, including a 20 per cent hike when Ms Berejiklian became Premier.”

A Daley Labor Government will re-regulate the retail electricity market and drive retail prices down by:

  • A fair priced default offer set by an independent regulator for those consumers unable to engage with a very confusing market, to ensure they no longer pay what has been called a ‘loyalty tax’ to the big energy companies;
  • Making sure discounts being offered to consumers are real discounts off what they are actually paying;
  • Ensuring that products are able to be understood and easily compared by consumers;
  • Making electricity bills transparent, so consumers can see who they are paying and how much; and
  • Stopping the big energy companies making excessive retail profits.

This will be achieved by putting a tough cop back on the beat – giving an independent regulator oversight of the level of profits being made by the big energy companies.

The ACCC has endorsed the approach Labor has been campaigning for, as has the National Farmers Federation, the NSW Farmers Association, the Canegrowers Association of NSW, ACOSS and NCOSS. Many of Labor’s ideas were recommended by the ACCC in its July 2018 report.

The ACCC estimates that the implementation of these reforms will save average households in NSW around $409 per year or 24 per cent off their current electricity bills, with similar savings expected for small businesses.