Ag News

NSW Farmers say bush electricity prices out of control

  • By: Farm Tender "Prime"
  • Aug 15, 2017

Ahead of the Prime Minister’s meeting with electricity retailers, The NSW Farmers’ Association is urging the Prime Minister to establish more transparency in the retail electricity market, particularly in ensuring that regional Australia gets a fair deal on their electricity.

“Regional electricity users are paying the highest electricity prices in Australia, and with the introduction of cost-reflective pricing, some users will see increases in their electricity bill of 200%,” said NSW Farmers’ President, Derek Schoen.

“The typical household in the bush pays around $2083, while in Sydney this is $1507.”

Retail markets in regional areas are not competitive, and regional electricity users are not getting a fair deal on their electricity.

“If you are in Dubbo, even if you shop around, you will only get a 32% cost-saving on your electricity from the default market offer. If you live in Darlinghurst you will get a 51% cost-saving. Regional users are not receiving the benefits of a competitive electricity market.”

Mr Schoen urges the Prime Minister and retailers to establish short-term and long-term reforms to address this disparity. An immediate solution could be the introduction of a comparison rate for retail electricity market offers, allowing customers to directly compare the myriad of market offers and find the best deal.

“In NSW we have over 100 different market offers. This is not a sign of competition or innovation, it is a sign of price opaqueness. A comparison rate, much like those mandated for loan products, would allow consumers to navigate the myriad of offers and find the best deal for them.”

“In the longer-term we need incentives and feed-in tariffs that encourage distributed energy resources, demand management, and energy efficiency on farms. I want to see farmers control their own destiny with respect to energy and electricity."