Baird Government’s appeal of power price cuts will add to cost of living

At 4:05 pm 0 Comment Print

Tens of thousands of families and small businesses already unable to pay their electricity bills will be hit even harder if Mike Baird is successful in his quest through the courts for higher power prices.

Data from the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) shows that almost 33,000 households and more than 3,800 small businesses were disconnected in 2013-14 – increases of 32 per cent and 42 per cent respectively.

“Tens of thousands of households and small businesses were cut off in NSW last year because they couldn’t afford the cost of power,” said Opposition Leader Luke Foley.

“We have a ridiculous situation in NSW where the Liberal-National Government is actually taking legal action to put power prices up.

“Cost of living is one of the key challenges for any government. Mike Baird’s policy approach to managing the cost of living is pursuing higher energy prices in the courts.”

Under the AER’s determination due to take effect on 1 July this year, households across NSW are set to receive an average bill reduction of between $190 and $338 per year, with small business up to $569 better off.

In question time both Energy Minister Anthony Roberts and Small Business Minister John Barilaro offered no hope of a reprieve for customers.

“They are all towing Mike Baird’s privatisation lines on this one,” said  Foley.

“The Government has the perfect opportunity to lower power prices for NSW customers, instead they are challenging cheaper electricity in the courts.

“The regulator has made the ruling which would cut bills at the start of next month by an average of more than $200 a year for every household.

“The Government should drop the legal challenge and give the tens of thousands of families and small businesses in NSW struggling to keep the lights on a bit of a helping hand.”

Shadow Minister for Energy Adam Searle said the government had still failed to guaranteed consumer advocacy groups would be allowed to speak on behalf of customers as part of the court proceedings.

“The merits of the government’s case are completely wrong. Even worse is the fact they intend on gagging consumer advocacy groups from speaking up for NSW customers.”

 

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