Senate committee into electricity prices calls for change

A senate committee into electricity prices has urged the states to end the "blame game",which it says is not engaging the issue and that the federal jurisdiction has overseen some of the recent price rises.

Of the 15 recommendations the committee made, some included improving the power of the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) to increase the level of investigation and scrutiny it places on investments and also give the AER the ability to stop the gold plating of infrastructure,which is inefficient.

The coalition members of the committee made the following recommendations:

"That the government act immediately to reduce the upward pressure on electricity prices on consumers and business by repealing the carbon tax," it said.

Chairman of the committee Mark Thistlethwaite said a number of factors are contributing to rising power bills, including peak demand, state government dividend taking, a lack of competition and labour prices.

The committee noted that the profit before tax of electricity companies had risen by 67 per cent from 2007-08 to 2010-11 and at the same time electricity prices for consumers had risen by 40 per cent. The committee stipulated that this could be coincidence or "opportunistic profit taking".

Posted by Charlie Moore