QCOSS made a submission to Energy Queensland (EQ) in relation to its Issues Paper, Network Tariff 2020-2025, Customer Consultation.
Developments in the electricity sector are of great interest to QCOSS because the supply of electricity is an essential service that is vitally important for the health and wellbeing of families and individuals. QCOSS believes it is important to provide a voice for residential consumers, and particularly low-income and disadvantaged households, in the tariff reform process.
Our key messages are:
• QCOSS supports the intent of moving towards more cost reflective network pricing to the extent that it will lead to better outcomes for customers.
• Cost reflective tariffs must be designed based on an understanding of customer impacts including their actual ability to control and shift their energy use.
• Low income and vulnerable customers need to be provided with support and protections to ensure that they are not worse off because of the transition to cost reflective tariffs.
• A transition phase is required to ensure that low income and vulnerable customers have time to build capacity and capability to engage, and make informed choices about participating in tariff reform.
• Underpinning this transition, the core principles of tariff design and implementation must include equity, bill stability, and simplicity.
• The EQs appraisal matrix should be more closely based on the design principles, prioritised based on what has the most importance for low income and vulnerable customers.
• To achieve this, retailers, government and the community sector must collaborate to ensure that participation by low income and vulnerable customers is enabled through information, education and consumer protections.
• Low income and vulnerable customers must be supported to access and utilise the digital technology required to get the full benefits of cost reflective tariffs.