NCOSS made a submission to the Independent Pricing & Regulatory Tribunals’ (IPART) annual review of the operation of the competitive retail electricity market in NSW. Electricity, like water, is an essential service that underpins people's health and quality of life. These reviews by IPART are crucial, as they are intended to monitor how well competition in retail electricity is working, and whether it is delivering better prices and services for people in NSW. With electricity prices having risen consistently over a decade, and rising another 20% from this week, it is obvious that retail competition is not leading to lower prices.
As we found in the recent Turning Off The Lights: Cost of Living in NSW report, for a significant and growing proportion of people, electricity costs are regularly beyond their capacity to pay. The result is more and more households and families going without a range of other important household essentials, getting into debt and being disconnected.
NCOSS believes a retail electricity market that doesn’t work for the most vulnerable in our community is a failing one. We have made a range of recommendations in our Cost of Living report that look at improving how the retail electricity market works for vulnerable people, and reforming the assistance available to ensure that everyone has affordable and sustainable access to essential electricity services.