14/09/2012 - 12:26

CCI, Labor renew calls for electricity reform

14/09/2012 - 12:26

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Western Australia’s peak business representative body has joined the Labor opposition in urging the state government to deregulate the retail electricity market, calling for an independent regulator to remove politics from the setting of energy prices.

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry released a research paper on WA’s electricity sector today, which showed greater efficiencies could be achieved by a de-regulated energy market.

“Larger businesses that can choose their electricity retailer have made significant savings of up to 15 per cent on current tariff rates,” CCI WA chief executive James Pearson said.

“All businesses and households should have access to a competitive market.”

Mr Pearson said the establishment of an independent regulator to determine cost reflective tariffs should be a priority for the government, bringing WA up to speed with all other states except the Northern Territory.

“Another priority should be the ongoing and measured reform of the electricity market to address excess capacity, improve governance and implement important gas market reforms,” he said.

Mr Pearson said as secure, affordable and efficient electricity network was vital for business and households in Western Australia.

The state Labor opposition seized on the report this morning, claiming that it mirrors their plan to reform the energy sector and abolish the tariff equalisation contribution (TEC), which sees residential customers connected to the South West Interconnected System subsidising other users across the state.

Opposition Leader Mark McGowan announced Labor’s intention to abolish the levy is successful in next March’s election in August.

“The CCI and the Economic Regulation Authority both support the abolition of the TEC levy,” opposition spokesperson for energy Bill Johnston said.

Mr Johnston said Western Australians would save around 7 per cent on electricity bills if the TEC levy was abolished.

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