Investigation launched into electricity prices

A Legislative Council Select Committee has been established to investigate electricity supply, demand and prices in New South Wales.

Seeking answers: Labor MLC Adam Searle said an investigation into electricity prices is long overdue. "The committee will investigate alleged collusion and price gouging by energy retailers," he said.

Seeking answers: Labor MLC Adam Searle said an investigation into electricity prices is long overdue. "The committee will investigate alleged collusion and price gouging by energy retailers," he said.

The Committee has a cross-section of parliamentary members including Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party MLC Robert Borsak and Labor MLC Adam Searle.

Mr Borsak, who started the inquiry, said The National Party and Liberal Party in Government have a lot to answer on energy policy and electricity prices.

“It makes no sense why they would be unwilling to build new power stations to increase the supply of electricity and reduce power prices," he said. “The public has a right to know whether there is collusion and price gouging by energy retailers."

Mr Borsak said the public has a right to know the extent of the influence of Liberal Party powerbrokers and whether they have an impact on increasing power prices.

“Currently the two men who control the Liberal Party factions appear to control energy policy in this state: one is AGL lobbyist Michael Photios and the other is Energy Minister Don Harwin," he said.

The public has a right to know whether there is price gouging by energy retailers.

Robert Borsak

“One example is the $1.2 million increase in the electricity bill of breakout River Meats in Cowra.”

Mr Searle said the investigation is long overdue.

"The committee will investigate and report on the reasons for recent large increases in the price of electricity, the impact of the deregulation of electricity prices in 2014 and alleged collusion and price gouging by energy retailers," he said.

"We also will look into the effectiveness or impact of any current regulatory standards and guidelines, options for future government oversight and responsibility in the re-regulation of electricity prices.

"The Committee will also investigate the adequacy of planning to meet future electricity demand, including utilising high efficiency, low emissions coal technology as well as the use of nuclear, gas, solar and wind energies, and energy storage through batteries, pumped hydro and hydrogen, and improved transmission between regions."

The Committee has held its first hearing and had more than 90 submissions, but none from any of the major electricity companies.