No electricity price hike: 'This is a victory for customers'
IN A win for electricity consumers, Essential Energy has agreed to not impose price rises of 15 per cent, despite winning a court battle against the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) to do so.
It's a win Labor Shadow Minister for Energy Adam Searle is claiming credit for.
Mr Searle said: "This is a victory for Essential's 800,000 customers across rural and regional NSW, who will now not have to pay an extra $200 on top of the staggering price rises they have already had to bear".
He said, in 2015 the Independent Australian Energy Regulator recommended price cuts of $313 for households and $528 for small businesses but Essential said lower prices would "compromise the safety and reliability of the network service".
A NSW Labor party statement said they pursued the issue after the energy provider opposed the cuts, and "in May 2017 revealed a confidential briefing document prepared by Essential - which is 100 per cent owned by the NSW Government - admitting that if it lost the case against the regulator then the "impact of this outcome on the business today would be minimal".
Mr Searle said: "Make no mistake: it is nothing short of a scandal. Essential and the Berejiklian-Barilaro Government claimed that if these price cuts went through then there would be catastrophic consequences. Now it is abandoning them, because it is clear they did not need the extra revenue - which was just going to be extra profit for the company.
"The company has responded to customer outrage over this and the payment of an extra 15 per cent/$117,000 plus pay rise to its CEO.
"The Labor Opposition welcomes this overdue decision, but where were the Premier and the Minister for Energy on this issue? They failed to act to protect customers, leaving it to the NSW Labor Opposition to step in and protect consumers."