Cheaper bills best way to reduce power use
Market watch top headlines
SYDNEY, Dec 3 AAP
December 03 2012, 2:05PM
The lure of cheaper electricity bills is more likely to encourage households to reduce energy consumption than images of melting polar icecaps, a national power company says.
The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) on Monday heard a review of NSW operations from Energy Australia and Origin Energy, as well as electricity pricing proposals for 2013 to 2016.
Energy Australia Group Executive Manager Retail, Adrian Merrick, told the forum that a range of incentives had been introduced to drive down energy consumption which had proved more successful than issuing ecological warnings.
He said the introduction of the MyEnergy Report scheme - which enables consumers to compare their electricity bill to similar households - had resulted in a downward shift in consumers' energy use.
"When you offer someone the ability to compare their consumption to their neighbour ... it does have ... a sort of `keeping up with the Joneses' effect," Mr Merrick said.
"That has a much greater impact on how people think about energy and how they use their energy than if we just keep bombarding them with images of melting icecaps.
"This really drives consumer change."
Mr Merrick said an increasing number of consumers were now proactively switching their electricity provider due to the range of discounts available in the NSW market.
"That is a sign of a market getting active," he said.
Origin Energy CEO of Energy Markets, Frank Calabria, said that while electricity prices would continue to rise over the next three years, the increases would be lower than in recent times.
"We expect that a reasonable regulated price path over the regulatory period would see prices above CPI but nowhere near replicating the recent year-on-year double digit price rises," Mr Calabria said.
The forum was also due to hear representations from the NSW gas sector.