Labor calls for consumer groups to be heard in energy prices appeal

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The NSW Labor Opposition has today called on the Government to ensure consumer advocacy groups are allowed standing to fight for the interests of households and businesses as part of appeal proceedings by NSW electricity businesses against lower power prices. 

Defying all logic and fairness, the Baird Government is appealing against the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) determination that lowers power prices.

Under the AER’s determination, households across NSW are set to receive an average bill reduction of between $190 and $338 per year, and small business reductions of up to $569 per annum.

In Question Time today, the Treasurer refused to rule out opposing the standing of consumer groups to seek cheaper electricity prices.

“The Baird Liberal Government has given the green light for NSW energy companies to chase higher power prices for households and families across the state,” said Mr Foley.

“The Premier and the Treasurer must ensure that the legal teams working for the electricity companies do not try to block testimony by advocacy groups.

“Advocacy groups must be allowed standing as part of the appeal process to stick up for the millions of electricity customers across NSW who deserve lower power prices.

“By appealing the AER determination, Mike Baird has chosen to back higher power bills for families and businesses in our state.

“He finds himself wanting the distribution network to be as profitable as possible – even if it comes at the expense of NSW households and businesses.

“It’s important that the interests of mums and dads and small business owners across the state are represented as part of the appeal process,” added Mr Foley.

Shadow Minister for Energy Adam Searle said the government could no longer wash its hands of this issue.

“The Premier and his Ministers are running a ‘it’s not us’ defence,” said Mr Searle.

“If they won’t do the right thing and withdraw their taxpayer-funded legal appeal, the Liberals should at least provide an undertaking that they will allow consumer groups the ability to get a hearing in the tribunal.