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Mike Yardley: Govt's needless meddling on power prices hurting consumers

Author
Mike Yardley,
Section
Opinion,
Publish Date
Friday, 4 October 2019, 9:53AM
I’ve switched power suppliers six times in the past nine years, staking out the sharpest deals, writes Mike Yardley.

Yet another of the government’s much-vaunted reviews looks like a lemon. The power price review. A long look under the bonnet, seeking changes and solutions to many non-existent problems.

The government’s intended changes will actually drive a lot of people’s power prices up – not down. The Energy Minister’s action plan seems to be a strange sticky-beaked mix of needless bans and crackdowns that molest the marketplace. Megan Woods is actually taking a big stick to the spirit of competition in its current state.

For starters, those low-fixed daily charge plans will be axed. So, if you are a low power user, rigged up to gas and or solar – you will pay more. Her even bigger target on the hit list - early payment discounts.

Most retailers offer them, to varying degrees. I actually value the prompt payment loyalty discount I pocket from my supplier. It shaves twenty per cent of my bill.

That sweetener was actually part of the deal that drove me to switch to my current supplier.

They also gave me a two hundred dollar welcome aboard credit and a two year price freeze.

But Woods wants to snuff those sorts of goodies out of existence. No win-back offers either, because the Minister’s ropey rationale is that they only benefit customers who are prepared to shop around, for a sharper priced deal. It’s not fair on those who don’t, argues the Minister. Can you believe this? How’s that for a chilling effect on competition.

I’ve switched power suppliers six times in the past nine years, staking out the sharpest deals. It has kept my power bills in check. I am only paying eight per cent more for power now, than what I was in twenty ten. In contrast, my council rates bill has exploded by seventy three per cent, over the same period.

The power has been in our hands to stake out the best deals and the sharpest tariffs. The Minister’s clumsy intentions, will curb your power to bargain hunt. This is needless fiddling and meddling in the marketplace by central command.

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