The state’s peak business organisation, the NSW Business Chamber, says agreement on urgent actions to meaningfully address the impact of energy costs on business is still missing.
“Small businesses in NSW have seen a 20% increase in electricity prices since July this year and manufacturers have seen their electricity bills double, so businesses of all sizes need urgent relief on their rapidly rising electricity and gas bills”, said NSW Business Chamber Chief Executive Stephen Cartwright.
“Few would have factored such increases into their business plans which means that increased energy costs will directly impact new investment and new jobs,” Mr Cartwright said.
“It is well past the time where the impact of higher energy prices on businesses is recognised by governments.
“Action is needed now to help businesses deal with unexpected and exceptional cost increases, yet it is difficult to detect any sense of urgency in implementing reforms on the part of the Federal and NSW Government.
“Our March Business Conditions Survey found that 45% of businesses in NSW were affected by recent increases to energy costs, so the NSW Government must show leadership in this area instead of hiding behind COAG.
“Today’s agreement from the retailers will do little to help small businesses better navigate the often complex and opaque nature of energy offers and bills, and significant reforms are still needed to ensure the protection of all energy users, large and small, which we will hopefully see come out of the current ACCC review.
“The NSW Business Chamber has been advocating for the establishment of a voluntary industry code to bring energy retailers up to best practice when they present offers and bills to ensure the protection of customers.
“Initiatives in the retail sector must also be complemented with effective NSW Government energy efficiency programs for businesses, mechanisms to help smaller users manage peak demand, and continued implementation of the Finkel reforms.