MEDIA RELEASE: ACCC Report shines spotlight on needs of energy consumers

Queenslanders with Disability Network (QDN) welcomes the recommendations of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) final report, “Restoring electricity affordability and Australia’s competitive advantage” and the focus on improving

affordability and access for energy consumers.

The ACCC Report released 11 July 2018, outlines 56 recommendations for the national energy market and retailers and indicates that the market needs to be reset.

Energy is an essential service, and there are many Queenslanders with disability who are experiencing energy stress and challenges with staying connected to this essential service. Queenslanders with disability have also highlighted the issues around higher energy consumption needs for many people with disability who have additional energy costs related to their disability, like charging powerised mobility equipment, and heating and cooling needs.

Mr Nigel Webb, Chairperson QDN Board of Directors said, “The energy market is a complex marketplace, and QDN knows there are many people with disability who are experiencing challenges with understanding, navigating and being able to act as empowered customers in the energy market. It is great to see the recommendations of this report which model a grant scheme on the Switched on Communities program administered through QCOSS during 2017. QDN’s successful “Bright Sparks” project which was one of the funded projects delivered a peer led energy literacy program to almost 1000 people with disability, resulting in empowered customers able to exercise informed choice and put into place savings on their day to day power bills that made a real difference to their lives.”

Mr Webb said, “Through Bright Sparks we  know first hand how targeted support assists vulnerable energy consumer to improve their energy literacy through the direct benefits achieved for Queenslanders with disability.”

Mr Webb said “QDN welcomes the ACCC recommendation to provide addition Australian Government and state government funding for a grant scheme for consumer and community organisations which will provide targeted support to assist consumers who may be vulnerable to improve energy literacy. QDN looks forward to working with both State and Commonwealth Governments to implement both this and the other recommendations in the report.”

END: 12 July 2018

Contact: Paige Armstrong, CEO (ph) 3252 8566

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