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WA Households Ripped Off On Energy Bills

Western Australians should be angry about high power bills, a lack of choice and Synergy’s monopoly, according to energy expert Henry Cooke.

With more people staying at home and using electricity during the COVID-19 pandemic, residents are warned to prepare for bill shock.

Federal Energy Minister Angus Taylor said one of the most effective ways for households to save money on their energy bills was to “shop around and compare different offers”.

However, unlike the rest of Australia which is deregulated, WA residents do not have the luxury of choice. State Government owned Synergy is the only authorised retailer in the South West Interconnected System and Horizon caters for households in the State’s north.

It really is like living in the Dark Ages – WA is a nanny state.

Everything else has been deregulated, such as the telecommunications industry, the financial industry and gas.

Residents can negotiate with their mortgage, superannuation, health insurance and vehicle insurance.

We should be allowed to get the best deal on our electricity bills too.

The Australian Energy Market Commission’s (AEMC) annual report on electricity price trends was released in December. It predicted prices would fall in all states in the next three years, except in WA where prices are expected to rise.

Australian households are expected to save an average 7.1 per cent ($97) on their power bills to 2022. However, WA electricity costs are projected to rise by 6 per cent ($102).

Last month the WA Government has put a freeze on electricity bills until July 2021 to help households cope with measures to slow the spread of COVID-19. The Energy Assistance Payment has also been doubled to $600.

The energy market should be deregulated because:

  • Cheaper prices for consumers – the State’s electricity industry should follow the example of the WA gas industry, where competition resulted in reduced prices. Amanda Energy would be able to provide up to 10 per cent discounts on residential electricity bills. Households could save $300 each year on a $3000 bill.
  • Improved efficiency – competition drives productivity. Allowing the private sector to enter the market will encourage energy providers to find better ways to cater for their customers. Mr Cooke said Amanda Energy would provide personalised plans catering for individual customer needs.
  • Competition drives innovation – competition encourages new disruptors and new technology. For example, customers will have improved access to technology solutions such as smart metering, distributed generation, distributed storage and active on-site demand management systems.
  • Choice will encourage residents to participate – each household has a unique load profile. Residents will save money by energy companies finding the most effective solutions. For example, they may adopt solar or other small-scale devices. The uptake of distributed energy resources (DER) will be encouraged by an active and competitive market.

Opening up the WA energy market to competition had been considered for more than five years, but the State government had never taken action.

Politicians have cited increased electricity prices in the deregulated Eastern states since around 2008.

But the ACCC Retail Electricity Inquiry suggested increased prices were the result of factors unrelated to full retail contestability, such as increased network costs.

WA also has cheaper gas than the Eastern States.

The Federal Government’s plan is to improve competition, end dodgy practices and deliver a more affordable and reliable energy system for Australians.

According to the Australian Energy Council, higher electricity prices impact customers, especially the vulnerable and lower income households and marginal businesses.

It is unfair WA is lagging behind the Eastern States.

It is so important customers shop around to get the best deal for their circumstances – West Aussies are being robbed of this opportunity.

 

About Henry Cooke

Henry is a director at Amanda Energy. He has 30-years experience owning and operating small businesses in agriculture, retail, property and energy industries in WA. Henry has a Bachelor of Commerce from UWA. His knowledge of a diverse range of machinery and equipment in business gives him grass roots insight as to what levels of power and savings are achievable. He also loves golf and diving.