Power price win for consumers

Young households have received an early Christmas gift from Essential Energy after it agreed to not impose price rises of 15 per cent, despite winning a court battle against the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) allowing it to do so.

Price war: Labor's Adam Searle MLC and Charlie Sheahan said only Labor fought for lower electricity prices for Young householders. Picture: Craig Thomson.

Price war: Labor's Adam Searle MLC and Charlie Sheahan said only Labor fought for lower electricity prices for Young householders. Picture: Craig Thomson.

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”.

But the Witness revealed during the Cootamundra by-election that Essential Energy was caught out lying over why it went to court to fight price cuts for households and small businesses in regional NSW. 

Shadow Minister for Energy Adam Searle said only Labor and rural papers like the Young Witness fought for the truth to be told and the result is a win for consumers.

“This is a victory for Essential’s 800,000 customers like those in Young, 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.

“But 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 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 and papers like the Witness to step in and protect consumers.”

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the Government was doing everything it could to lower cost of living expenses.