The clean energy industry has welcomed a new inquiry into electricity prices announced by the Turnbull Government, which should ensure retail markets are competitive and that consumers looking to manage their own power bills through solar and battery storage are being treated fairly.

Clean Energy Council Chief Executive Kane Thornton said many households and businesses had installed their own solar power systems to combat high prices, but some are skeptical that competition is working fairly for them.

“The energy sector is changing rapidly and consumers should feel fully empowered to take control of their bills through technologies like solar, batteries and better energy efficiency. But currently the market rules in some regions mean that they don’t get the full value from technologies like energy storage for example. This needs to change,” Mr Thornton said.

“Clearly a competitive retail market is important, and retailers of solar and battery systems must be able to compete on a level playing field with traditional electricity retailers.

“Electricity prices are causing concern across the country, and giving the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission the power to fully investigate this issue makes sense.

“The eastern states have experienced the highest percentage spikes in power bills over the last decade, with prices more than doubling in Queensland, Victoria and New South Wales. If the retail market isn’t working properly, we should know why so that steps can be taken to address it.

“One of the big parts of this story is that Australia has not had clear and consistent energy and climate policy for the last decade, which means that investors have not felt confident to make timely and sensible investments in Australia’s future energy system.

“Consequently we are now starting to run short of power during peak periods and this is driving prices up,” he said.  

Mr Thornton said the energy industry and the business community had united in a call for a national energy plan which would combine carbon and energy policy over the long term.

Please contact Clean Energy Council Media Manager Mark Bretherton on 0413 556 981 for more information or to arrange an interview.