Family First MLC Dennis Hood has announced a Bill yesterday to create a capping scheme for utility pricing (electricity, gas and water). State Parliament will for the first time be empowered to disallow price increases more than double the cost of living for the preceding financial year, after receiving a report from ESCOSA on the increase.
Under a new three-tier price review regime, Parliament will be empowered to disallow – and therefore cap – price increases two times the cost of living (“Code Red” increases). Increases exceeding 1 ½ the cost of living (“Code Orange” increases) will automatically be referred to Parliament’s Budget and Finance Committee for scrutiny, whilst increases above cost of living but less than 1 ½ times that amount will require ESCOSA to report to Parliament on the merits of the increase.
Family First research indicates the Code Red capping scenario would have been invoked for almost every increase over the last 4 years based on median usage of electricity, gas and water.
“Clearly South Australians can’t be expected to continue to absorb the extremely high increases in utility costs any longer,” Mr Hood said, “The system is clearly broken and Family First’s proposal is a solid, sensible step towards fixing it. The Government need to understand that it is simply not good enough to sit back and wash their hands of these issues. The people that elected them expect them to act on this and to put a lid on these crazy price rises once and for all.”
“Water, gas and electricity are essential services yet they are being priced like they are luxury items and South Australians’ standard of living is suffering because of it. I have been told that people are not turning on their heaters, and even having very short cold showers in order to keep their bills down. This is not acceptable in modern 21st century Australia.”
“Compassion dictates that we must act to stop these Bills getting any worse so that the elderly, the poor and hard working people in particular can maintain their dignity and a reasonable quality of life.”
SA’s first utility pricing cap scheme to protect families, pensioners
Friday, 29 June 2012, 12:00 (EST)
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