MEMBER for Bega Andrew Constance is responding to concerns over electricity bills raised in the BDN last week (16/8) by organising an information session in Bega next month.
Bega resident John D’Arcy questioned two different tariffs being charged to Origin customers, saying people were being “conned” into signing up for the higher tariff with the lure of initial bill discounts.
He said the switch to the higher tariff could occur for all new customers or even existing customers who choose to “break” their contract by taking up a discount offer.
“After being hit with years of double-digit price hikes under the former Labor Government, the O’Farrell government has been working hard to rein in spiralling electricity prices and assist households to manage the impact of those prices,” Mr Constance said.
“NSW has now turned a corner – largely driven by the NSW Government’s ongoing reform of the network businesses which uncovered $2.5billion in unnecessary capital expenditure and operating costs under Labor and has allowed the Government to cap network costs at or below CPI over the next six years.
“This means that for the first time in over a decade, Bega customers on regulated prices can expect an average price decrease of 0.7 per cent for 2013/14, compared to a 19.7 per cent increase last year with prices forecast to decline further by 2015/16.
“A number of Bega residents have raised with me the issue of electricity prices and the perceived lack of simple, consistent information available to customers,” Mr Constance said.
“I share their concerns and that of John D’Arcy about bill confusion.
“He is right to cite the various forms of tariffs and the various market deals, which could potentially trap consumers.
“Consumers need to be very careful about what they are agreeing to,” he said.
“Since meeting with Mr D’Arcy on Friday night I have been working with Energy Minister Chris Hartcher to organise an information session in Bega so that residents can learn about how electricity gets generated and delivered to their household, what they are paying for when they pay their bill, and how to best choose an electricity deal that suits their needs.
“The session will be held in September and I look forward to providing more information on this shortly.”