LNP promises to end electricity monopoly in Western Australia

The Liberal National Party (LNP) in Western Australia has promised to open up the electricity market to retail competition if the party wins the upcoming state election.

Under a Harvey Government, Western Australians would be able to shop around for their electricity provider, much like they do already for natural gas.

State-owned Synergy is currently the sole electricity provider in WA for business and residential customers who use less than 50 megawatts of power a year.

Opposition energy spokesperson Dean Nalder told the ABC that the proposal would make a big impact to customers’ pockets.

“In Western Australia, our price is 35 per cent higher than Tasmania,“ he said. “We’ve also had the largest increase in Western Australia over the last three and half years of any state in Australia. This is an example of what can occur when you have a single energy provider like Synergy without competition, without innovation in the marketplace.”

Opposition Leader Liza Harvey also promised that Synergy and Western Power will not be privatised as a result of an open WA electricity market.

This election pitch comes after the McGowan Government announced a $600 Household Electricity Credit which will provide financial relief to roughly 1.1 million WA residential customers.

“Starting this weekend, Western Australian households will start receiving historic one-off $600 credit towards their electricity bills,” said Premier Mark McGowan.

The Premier added: “It’s timely this credit comes out in the lead up to Christmas. I encourage Western Australians to spend some of their savings on supporting our local retail and hospitality businesses, which have been hard hit by COVID-19. Supporting Western Australian households during this unprecedented time is an important part of our jobs and recovery plan.”

Will an open electricity market benefit Western Australians?

Canstar Blue Editor-in-Chief, Simon Downes, said a free electricity market in WA could be a positive change for customers, so long as the right regulations are in place, like they are now in most of the eastern states.

“Making the case for an open energy market would have been tough a couple of years ago at a time of high wholesale prices and confusing deals being pushed by the retailers,” Mr Downes said.

He added: “At the time, it felt like more competition meant more confusion. But with a new regulated price cap in Victoria, New South Wales, south east Queensland and South Australia, it’s now easy for consumers to tell the good energy deals from the duds, while ensuring those who don’t engage in the market are not left to pay outrageously high prices.

“With a similar regulated price cap already existing in the WA gas retail market, consumers in the Perth area are now able to make significant savings thanks to the healthy competition that’s opened up, with discounts of up to 50% off gas usage charges being offered in recent times.”

Compare WA Gas Prices

Here are some of the cheapest gas deals on our database for WA. These estimated annual costs are based on the ATCO Network in Perth and yearly gas usage of 27,620 (units), but prices may vary depending on your circumstances. We show one product per retailer, listed in order of lowest estimated cost. These are products from referral partners†. Our database may not cover all deals in your area, and please check retailer websites for up to date information.

Image credit: Neal Pritchard Media/Shutterstock.com

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