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    Printing Industries draws ACCC attention to impact of electricity cost & supply

    July 03, 2017 - 1:47pm

    Unsustainable increases in electricity prices and unreliable electricity supply are a serious and immediate threat to the survival of print businesses and to print industry jobs, the Printing Industries Association of Australia has told the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

    Printing Industries made these comments in a submission to an inquiry that Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison directed the ACCC to conduct into retail pricing and practices in the national electricity market.

    Andrew Macaulay, CEO of Printing Industries, says “We have relayed to the ACCC some of the compelling and potentially devastating examples of electricity price increases which members have given us – anything from 5 – 6%, up to 200%.”

    "One of our large Melbourne-based members faces an increase from $120K per annum to $360K per annum once its existing contract expires on 31 December 2017. That’s 3-fold and totally unsustainable."

    "The ACCC will be concerned to know that many of our members have incurred these increases despite decreasing the amount of electricity they use. Over a 5-year period, one of our regional Queensland members has paid 27% more for electricity, despite having decreased consumption by 18%. And that has meant turning air conditioners off – in far north Queensland! Without using less electricity, our member would have been paying 40% more", Macaulay said.

    Printing Industries’ submission addresses the impediments that print and associated businesses face in engaging with the electricity market and gives the ACCC evidence from members for the ACCC to use in recommending improved outcomes for print and associated businesses who are trying to choose and buy electricity services.

    Macaulay said, "It is very clear that the major electricity suppliers and distribution networks have witnessed their customers’ reduced power consumption and have consequently adjusted their prices to maintain and increase their revenue against the trendline of decreasing power use."

    "This is not sustainable. Either power companies will have to take a hit in value and revenue, or their customers, including our members, will have to do so."

    "If the current scenario continues, the consequences for employment will be dire. The sooner that Governments can force or encourage a readjustment to this conduct, the less damage will be done to industries like print, which rely on competitive power prices", says Macaulay.

    With this Inquiry, the ACCC cannot intervene in a dispute between an individual consumer and a retail provider. The ACCC’s role is to prosecute an entity which it considers is breaching trade and consumer laws; and to recommend to the Federal Government some changes in retail practices in the national electricity market.

    Read the full submission here.



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