Queensland Council of Social Service (QCOSS) says the recommendations in today’s report by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) on electricity supply and prices is a triumph for consumers.
“We know the energy market is not working for consumers – particularly for those on low incomes or experiencing vulnerability”, said QCOSS CEO Mark Henley.
“It is great to see this message repeated so strongly in this report.
“We welcome the report by the ACCC that puts the consumer first and recognises that the current market is not meeting customers’ needs.”
Key recommendations in the report to improve concession schemes, such as making them means-tested, will target those most in need and pave the way for a fairer market for everyone.
“Households experiencing energy stress must receive the supports necessary to manage their bills and stay connected.
“Energy is an essential service and Australia’s energy systems exist to serve the community, which underpins every aspect of our lives – social, economic and cultural.
“Investment is needed in more effective supports for customers at risk of energy hardship and disconnection.
“We are pleased to see recommendations such as moving customers off ‘standing’ offers to the new ‘default’ offers, which could result in savings of around $400, or 25 per cent per annum, to South East Queensland consumers.
“QCOSS also welcomes the recommendation to provide additional Australian Government and state government funding for a grant scheme for consumer and community organisations, which will provide targeted support to assist consumers, who may be vulnerable, to improve energy literacy.
“We applaud the ACCC recommendation that this grant scheme be modelled on the QCOSS approach in administering the Switched on Communities program.”
For more than 50 years QCOSS has been a leading force for social change to eliminate poverty and disadvantage. With members throughout Queensland, QCOSS supports a strong community service sector.