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Energy certainty and affordability essential for business

Release Date: 14/02/2017

The Illawarra Business Chamber is concerned that increases in energy prices combined with uncertainty in supply pose an increasing threat to businesses across the region in 2017.
Illawarra Business Chamber Executive Director, Chris Lamont, said reports identify that power bills have increased four times the rate of inflation over the last decade with the cost of power now hurting many businesses, particularly manufacturing and small businesses across the region.
On 1 July 2016, New South Wales saw widespread price rises of up to 12 per cent which added $170 to the average household electricity bill. The December 2016 NSW Business Chamber’s Business Conditions Survey identified reducing electricity and energy costs as a top five priority with 41 per cent of manufacturing businesses and 46.5 per cent of retail and wholesale businesses looking for energy cost reductions.
Reliable and affordable energy is essential business, households and communities, however, in recent times price increases, reliability concerns and uncertainty on future prices have played havoc and threaten employment in energy-intensive industry sectors.
“There is a need for all sides of politics to implement reforms that ensures cleaner, reliable and affordable energy for business and households. We need to stop the blame game and look at solutions offering cleaner, more affordable and reliable energy,” said Chris Lamont.
The Preliminary Report of the Independent Review into the Future Security of the National Electricity Market notes that Australians should pay no more than necessary for a secure, reliable and low emissions electricity supply.
Importantly, the report also notes the importance of affordability as the regulatory framework seeks to also meet the objectives of energy security and reduced emissions.
“As the Preliminary Report notes, it is the least well off in our community who will struggle to cope with electricity price rises. Rapid increase in prices, however, also threatens employment and businesses that would otherwise have a prosperous and secure future,” said Chris Lamont.

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