With SMEs facing a 30% price hike in electricity costs from July, the Chamber is calling on the government to do more to future-proof energy markets and keep a lid on prices.

NSW Business Chamber is calling on State and Federal politicians to do more to future-proof energy markets and protect energy users against price hikes and supply interruptions, following the recent release of the Finkel Report.
 
“The independent Finkel Report provides a clear path forward for the reforms needed to transition Australia’s energy markets into the 21st century,” said NSW Business Chamber Chief Executive Stephen Cartwright.

“But it won’t solve the immediate problem for businesses which is how to maintain, let alone grow, their operations and employment following already big increases in energy costs with next month’s electricity price hike of up to 30% on top.”

The Chamber has previously taken its concerns around energy pricing and security to State government, following reports from members about gas bills increasing by up to 50% in one year alone, while electricity bills have increased by around 30% over the same period.

According to the Chamber’s most recent Business Conditions Survey, almost half of all businesses surveyed have been or will be affected by recent and projected energy price rises and supply issues.

If the energy crisis continues as it is, Cartwright suggests that we will see businesses move offshore, sacrificing jobs in the process.

“Priority number one for governments must be to deal with the immediate crisis that businesses face by cutting the impact of price hikes through accelerating the expansion of demand management measures and energy efficiency programs, and urgently making retail offers and bills easier to understand,” he says.

Writing in a recent opinion piece, Cartwright called on the government to take action in the following areas by the end of the year: 
  • Get more gas flowing at reasonable prices to local business users and to the electricity generators. Making the Federal Government’s Domestic Gas Security Mechanism work is the best opportunity to achieve this.
  • Make retail energy offers and bills easier to understand to ensure customers aren't paying more than they should for electricity and gas.
  • Re-double government support to support small and medium businesses to become more energy efficient – it’s the only short term way to reduce their costs – but has long term benefits.
The Finkel Review can be found here. To read more about the energy crisis and how it is affecting SMEs, read the latest issue of Business Connect magazine.
Priority number one for governments must be to deal with the immediate crisis that businesses face by cutting the impact of price hikes through accelerating the expansion of demand management measures and energy efficiency programs.