WA Energy Minister Ben Wyatt has indicated that household electricity prices could rise by up to 15% over two years as a step towards introducing competition into the electricity market.
WACOSS is concerned that electricity price increases will hit low income consumers hard. The last financial year saw significant increases in electricity customers seeking assistance from their energy retailer and a rise in direct debit terminations due to default.
More than one in ten residential customers were granted an extension to pay a bill, with the proportion of residential electricity customers on instalment plans reaching a six-year peak in 2015-16 at nearly one in five.
Evidence from the Eastern states suggests that moves towards full retail contestability in their electricity markets have not necessarily benefited those on the lowest incomes. WACOSS will be advocating strongly that vulnerable and disadvantaged consumers are protected from any changes in the energy markets.