Why do different people pay different electricity prices? Who pays the highest prices, and why? And how low do the prices go for consumers who negotiate with their retailers?
The recent Thwaites Review into gas and electricity prices has highlighted the many challenges consumers face in comparing electricity contracts, and proposed price regulation to help simplify consumer choice and promote competition. At the same time, the ACCC is currently investigating competition in the electricity market, with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull putting direct pressure on electricity retailers to reduce their retail margins and simplify consumers’ lives.
Yet, despite these recent moves in policy circles, and the impact of electricity bills on Australians’ budgets, governments remain blind to the extent to which retail electricity contracts vary, and what drives differences in electricity prices across consumers. This blindness, in turn, hinders our ability to develop policies that promote competition and efficiency in electricity markets.
In this seminar, Dr David Byrne and Dr Leslie Martin from the Department of Economics and Centre for Market Design will present preliminary results from their path breaking study into retail electricity pricing. The study proposes a new methodology for providing government visibility into electricity contracts, and provides insights into why electricity market power leads to different consumers paying different prices.
Mr David Blowers, Energy Fellow at the Grattan Institute, and a household name for energy policy in Australia, will provide a discussion of this research and how it fits into broader policy debates into the Australian energy sector.
This is a free seminar, but registration is essential as it filling fast.