Powerless yet holds the Power?

TASMANIANS had been denied the chance to benefit from the Big Electricity Switch campaign because there was no retail contestability, One Big Switch director Christopher Zinn said yesterday.

Nearly 200,000 consumers in NSW, SA, Victoria, the ACT and Queensland had received discounts in their electricity bill up to 16.5 per cent in NSW and up to 18.5 per cent in Victoria and SA.

However, despite a recommendation from the Electricity Supply Industry Panel for retail competition, the Government has stopped short.

“We had 950 people sign up from Tasmania, even though there is no residential contestability, just so they can send a signal,” Mr Zinn said.

Mr Zinn said that Tasmanian consumers who signed up to One Big Switch had annual bills of $2676 partly because of the colder climate, but also because of high prices.

The Big Electricity Switch campaign began in June when One Big Switch launched the campaign in partnership with News Ltd papers interstate.

After signing up the 200,000 consumers One Big Switch went to companies and sought a better deal for consumers prepared to switch retailers.

“Thanks to the support of hundreds of thousands of Australians, discounted offers are a reality,” Mr Zinn said.

“Now people can decide what is best for them. They can switch, use the offer to shop around for a better deal, or even call your current electricity supplier and ask them to match the offer.”

In Tasmania, consumers can deal only with Aurora Energy for electricity and cannot negotiate better deals.

Prices rose by 10.56 per cent on July 1 after Aurora received approval for the rise from the Tasmanian Energy Regulator.

About 5.6 per cent of the $240 a year rise on the average bill of $2200 a year was attributed to the carbon tax.

Tasmania’s power prices have increased by 100 per cent since 2000. In the 2012 Budget, the State Government spent $37 million to trim by about $200 per household previously anticipated rises. The Government is also spending $37.3 million on concessions.

Energy Minister Bryan Green said yesterday the Government intended to introduce choice of electricity retailer for customers from 2014

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