In the lead up to the AFR National Energy Summit- 10-11 October 2018, competition regulator ACCC announced last week its package of recommendations to reform the national energy market – the conditions of which have been described by the watchdog as “unacceptable and unsustainable’”.
In a largely monopolized market, energy affordability is an ongoing concern for Australian citizens, businesses and the economy in general. Households are struggling with a significantly reduced disposable income; and an increasing number of small to medium size firms are being forced to offset their growing utility overheads through their own retail prices. For many businesses this is proving nonviable.
Prime Minister Turnbull commissioned the ACCC’s investigation into affordability in a bid to reset the market and ensure the right policy structures are in place to avoid further price surges and economical damage.
The report compiled as a result of the investigation produced 56 recommendations across four broad themes: Boosting competition in generation and retail; lowering costs in networks, environmental schemes and retail; enhancing consumer experiences; and improving business outcomes.
While some of the recommendations complement existing market and policy structures; others will involve some major restructuring – requiring collaboration and agreement from industry, consumers, regulators and governments – and no doubt causing significant controversy across the sector.
Against this backdrop of collective action, the AFR National Energy Summit – 10-11 October 2018 will hear from ACCC Chairman, Rod Simms who will discuss the report – including a reflection on why Australia has come to arrive at an affordability investigation; what action will be required to resolve the crisis; and how industry stakeholders may be affected by the changes.
He will be joined on the stage by Australia’s chief energy policy makers, regulators and industry leaders. Minister Frydenberg, Senator Canavan, and Shadow Minister Mark Butler are among the 50+ high profile speakers already confirmed to attend.