Consumer Action responds to Finkel

In response to the release of the Independent Review of the Future Security of the National Energy Market (the Finkel Blueprint), Consumer Action Law Centre makes the following comments:

Recommendation that consumer protections are updated to reflect the transforming energy market (rec 6.5)

“Our legal practice has helped scores of people in disputes with solar providers and related energy services. Too often people are left with a faulty electricity service and no clear path to resolving the issue.”

“Unless consumer protections are updated to apply to new business models, the market will quickly evolve and new and important energy services like solar and battery bundles will not meet peoples’ needs”.

Recommendation that the ACCC review should improve retail pricing, including discounts (rec 6.1)

“Pay on time discounts are penalties in disguise, and can mean bills skyrocket. We are glad to see that the blueprint acknowledges the confusion these ‘discounts’ cause and the need to clean up retailer’s misleading marketing.”

Recommendation on reporting to COAG Energy Council on affordability issues (rec 6.4)

“No-one should be worse off as a result of the urgent need to decarbonise the energy system – the transition to clean energy can be done affordably, and climate policy certainty will help pave the way.”

“It’s not clear that the blueprint’s proposals to improve system security are the most cost effective, but we support the establishment of an Energy Security Board that must be conscious of and report on affordability issues.”

Recommendation that COAG Energy Council should improve energy efficiency in collaboration with states & territories (rec 6.6)

“The blueprint’s recommendation that governments work to help low income households access energy efficiency measures and distributed energy resources is timely. The Victorian government should act now to improve the lives of tenants and low income people by implementing minimum energy efficiency standards in rental housing as a part of the current Rental Tenancy Act review.”

All quotes attributed to Gerard Brody, CEO of Consumer Action Law Centre

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