Australian Food & Grocery Council

Industry to benefit from a Competitive Electricity Market

The Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) today welcomed the release of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) Retail Electricity Pricing Inquiry report as a key step to addressing serious concerns relating to the lack of transparency, efficiency and competition across all aspects of the National Electricity Market.

AFGC CEO, Ms Tanya Barden said that the food and grocery sector has long held concerns that the lack of competition and transparency in the Australian electricity market has resulted in spiralling cost pressures on manufacturers’ energy bills.

“The AFGC has long argued for reform of the energy market’s competitive landscape that will enhance transparency and establish more competitive power pricing for consumers and businesses alike,” said Ms Barden.

“Efforts to address ‘market ¬manipulation’, which artificially increases electricity prices are rightly at the heart of this reform. While increased oversight of retail purchase arrangements and greater clarity of the ability for price comparisons will also enable businesses greater certainty in making their energy procurement decisions.”

“Encouraging new generation and retail entrants will drive greater competition for consumers, which will be key in lessening the impact of the highly concentrated and vertically integrated structure of the electricity market.”

“Australia’s $127 billion food and grocery sector’s international competitiveness is being hampered by high energy costs that are likely to have dire consequence for Australian jobs and investment. We welcome concerted efforts by the government to attack the spiralling costs of energy, which should be a competitive advantage.”

“Food and grocery companies will only invest in Australia if they can see a stable policy framework for driving reliable and cost-effective power supplies.  That is why we welcome ongoing reforms that will address other shortfalls in the energy market, including improving energy retail competition, transactional behaviour and energy availability and pricing.”

“However, we remain concerned about the short to medium term outlook for electricity prices, as many food and grocery manufacturers are due to renew their electricity contracts and are concerned about their viability in the next couple of years. To this end, we have suggested the implementation of short term programs that support industry making investments in energy efficiency and clean technology.”

“The AFGC also calls on the State Governments to work collaboratively with the Commonwealth in order to deliver long-term reform of the energy market, and necessary policy certainty for industry to continue drive jobs and investment growth. It is vital that states support the National Energy Guarantee, and increase the supply of on-shore gas as essential elements of energy reform,” said Ms Barden.

 

More information: James Mathews – 0407 416 002.