Labor's plan to make electricity affordable

Price rise: Fairfield MP Guy Zangari, Opposition energy, resources and industry spokesman Adam Searle, Cabramatta MP Nick Lalich and Prospect MP High McDermott talk to Lighting Town Cabramatta owner Ya Wang.
Price rise: Fairfield MP Guy Zangari, Opposition energy, resources and industry spokesman Adam Searle, Cabramatta MP Nick Lalich and Prospect MP High McDermott talk to Lighting Town Cabramatta owner Ya Wang.

July 1 meant one thing for Lighting Town Cabramatta owner Ya Wang: an increase in electricity prices.

Like thousands of small-to-medium-sized businesses, Ms Wang’s store will see electricity prices rise by $920 per year.

Households will also be slugged by 19.6 per cent - or $320 a year - from Saturday. The increase will add an extra $6.15 a week to the average household bill.

Opposition energy, resources and industry spokesman Adam Searle, Fairfield MP Guy Zangari, Cabramatta MP Nick Lalich and Prospect MP High McDermott visited businesses in Cabramatta to discuss the impact of the changes on Wednesday.

Labor claims to have a comprehensive plan to make electricity affordable and will re-regulate the electricity market to help struggling households and businesses.

The NSW Coalition government deregulated electricity prices in 2014 using the logic that more competition in the market should lower prices. Prior to that they were set by a government regulator.

“Families and small businesses are facing record power bills - because the government did everything it could to drive the price up ahead of privatisation,” Mr Searle said.

“Labor will not stand by and let family budgets be crushed and businesses wrecked by power price hikes.”

Prospect MP Hugh McDermott said families in western Sydney often told him how hard cost of living pressures were on their budget. “Most simply won’t be able to afford such price hikes,” he said.

During last week’s NSW Opposition's budget reply, Opposition Leader Luke Foley made clear he would campaign to bring soaring electricity prices back under state government control.

“Labor will not stand by and let family budgets be crushed,” Mr Foley said. "We'll do what's necessary to stop the electricity retailers from making super profits.

“There's various mechanisms we can look at to regulate electricity pricing and that is what we will do.”

In parliament last week, Premier Gladys Berejiklian decried Mr Foley's policy as “lazy” and said that analysis by the state's pricing regulator had found deregulation had already saved consumers hundreds of dollars.

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