Ross Garnaut, the economist who advised the Gillard Government on the carbon tax, has told a federal parliamentary inquiry into electricity prices that our energy system was broken.
Garnaut reported that wholesale electricity prices are currently lower than they were in 2006 and 2007, even with the carbon price included in the generation price.
Even though wholesale costs have not risen during the past 6 years, Garnaut said that over the same period the overall costs Australian households were hit by had risen by more than in any other developed country.
"And more than over a comparable period in any earlier period of Australian history," he added.
"The huge increases in electricity prices in Australia in the past half a dozen years are the result of what's happened in the pricing of transmission, distribution and retail prices," Professor Garnaut said.
"There has to be a downward adjustment of the rate of return."
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Providing information at the same hearing, the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) said that the higher prices were having an impact on households.
"We are all very familiar with the picture of the person who is living on a low income, sometimes elderly, who stays in bed in winter to keep warm," ACOSS chief Dr Cassandra Goldie said.
A better deal
Australians have the freedom to choose their electricity provider but with a wide range of different suppliers and rates to choose from, making an informed choice is not always easy.
The Moneyhound comparison site makes things simpler by allowing consumers to quickly compare power suppliers in their suburb and also helps to find cheaper plans based on usage habits.
One Big Switch is also currently running a campaign to help Australians get access to discounted electricity. To sign up to the campaign that leverages the power of crowd negotiation visit the site.
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