Australia’s Prime Minister has ordered a comprehensive review of the nation’s electricity prices, with its consumer watchdog to conduct a thorough investigation into competition within the National Energy Market (NEM).

electricity
electricity
Following recommendations from organizations including the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) and Energy Consumers Australia, as well as taking into account submissions to a government review into energy markets, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said he has asked the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to undertake a review of electricity prices in the retail sector of the market.

The ACCC will oversee the behavior of the energy retailers over the next few months, analyzing contracts offered to both private consumers and businesses to ensure they are getting a fair deal as a result of competition in the energy market.

In a statement, Turnbull said electricity prices were not reflective of competition within the energy markets, saying that the review could lead to cheaper prices and therefore less strain on households and businesses across Australia.

“The Turnbull government is determined to ensure Australians get a better deal for their energy,” he said in a statement.

“A better deal in electricity is vital to keeping the lights on, delivering cheaper prices to families and businesses and sustaining jobs, particularly the thousands of jobs in our energy-intensive industries.

The prime minister said competition in retail electricity markets should mean lower prices for residential and business consumers. However, retail electricity markets don’t appear to be operating as effectively as they could.

“A better deal in electricity is vital to keeping the lights on, delivering cheaper prices to families and businesses and sustaining jobs, particularly the thousands of jobs in our energy intensive industries.”

Speaking to Sky News on Thursday, the nation’s Treasurer Scott Morrison said the review was a part of a wider inquiry into Australia’s resources sector, following a similar review of the gas market in 2016.

“I think there are some serious questions that have been raised by recent reports,” Morrison said.

“In this initiative in particular, we’re looking at the infrastructure, the transmission and the retail market to make sure customers are getting the best deal.

“(The ACCC) did great work on the gas supply industry on the east coast which has led to actions by the government and this will provide the basis for actions by the government as well.”

Meanwhile fellow government frontbencher, Senastor Simon Birmingham said there had been a “mounting level of evidence” that there were “issues” in the retail sector of the electricity market.

“This is a serious analysis into the retail energy market,” Birmingham said.

“That’s why this action is being taken. Importantly, this action is being taken by the ACCC, which has the powers to compel information and evidence (from the electricity providers).”

Morrison said the ACCC will provide the federal government with its preliminary review within the next six months, however a more complex review will also be handed down by June 30, 2018. Enditem

Source: Xinhua/NewsGhana.com.gh