Energy council examines anti-competitive behaviour
The Ministerial Council on Energy (MCE) has released a consultation regulation impact statement that aims to evaluate potentially anti-competitive behaviour in the electricity sector.
Attention will be focused on the co-ownership of electricity transmission and generation businesses operating within the National Energy Market (NEM).
The MCE will look at current legislation for possible risks that would impact on the cost of electricity for the average Australian household.
Co-ownership of generation and transmission assets can raise significant concerns over the temptation to adopt anti-competitive behaviour.
Such risks to the consumer could include hikes in electricity distribution costs.
MCE will also look at the potential for drops in quality of service and supply, where customers are forced to rely on electricity suppliers which are less inclined to offer better service due to gross market dominance.
According to the report: "These anti-competitive behaviours are difficult to both police and prevent."
Whilst co-ownership is currently uncommon, MCE wants to examine the potential risks in the event that investors in the energy sector seek to increase profitability at the expense of households.
Feedback is currently being sought from stakeholders until September 22, 2011.
Consumers who are looking for a more competitive rate are encouraged to consult a switching service, which can evaluate cheaper alternatives for electricity suppliers.