PIAC responded to the AER’s draft determination and revised proposals from Ausgrid, Endeavour Energy and Essential Energy regarding the regulated revenue for the 2019-24 regulatory period.
Energy consumers are currently struggling to afford high energy bills. A combination of high wholesale electricity prices, high gas prices and long-term growth in network RABs has meant that consumers have faced unusually high bills in recent years. In the current 2014-19 period, all three DNSPs will recover less revenue than in 2009-14. However, while it is clearly positive that this is coming down, it must be noted that it is coming down from a particularly high level. This context forms the backdrop to this determination process. Through our work in the community, with community service providers, and as observers at DNSP customer engagement events, we have heard that affordability is the key priority for energy consumers.
In our submission PIAC stated that we could neither support proposals that will increase distribution charges over the 2019-24 RCP nor support expenditure programs that result in continued RAB growth. We maintain this position.
PIAC is pleased that the revised proposals from all three businesses achieve real price reductions for consumers and take steps to limit RAB growth. However, PIAC stresses that while this an important first step to addressing affordability, it remains just that – a first step towards addressing the cumulative impact on consumers from years of rising costs. Following the AER’s final revenue determination, the DNSPs must continue to find efficiencies and pass these savings on to consumers. We look forward to continuing to work with the businesses on these.