Disagreement about what privatisation will mean for electricity prices

Whether electricity prices go up or down  consumers may want to consider comparing electricity suppliers  16000646 800471486 0 0 7016996 300

Following the announcement of the full privatisation of New South Wales energy assets, there has been a host of commentary on what this will mean for electricity prices.

New South Wales Business Chamber is supportive of privatisation, as it agrees with the conclusions of the Tamberlin report on which the decision was based.

According to chief executive officer Stephen Cartwright, the recent rises in electricity prices demonstrate that consumers are not getting the best deal under the current regime, and would benefit from the efficiency that the private sector provides.

But not everyone agrees.

Voices who feel that privatisation will drive prices up, making the bills even harder to keep up with are basing their view on a similar case in South Australia.

State opposition leader John Robertson told the ABC: ''When electricity was privatised in South Australia, energy bills increased by 30 per cent."

According to Unions NSW deputy assistant secretary Matt Thistlethwaite in his article Lessons not learnt: NSW energy privatisation for Australian Options, it is worrying that 40 per cent of the total price of electricity is represented by wholesale costs.

This, he says, ''immediately sets the stage for a significant difference in retail prices when privatisation is introduced.''

Regardless of whether electricity prices go up or down however, the step taken by the NSW government will make it more important for consumers to compare electricity suppliers to ensure that they are getting the best deal available.

Posted by Charlie Moore