Electricity supply companies 'gaming the system'
THERE is something disturbingly familiar about the timeline of the overcharging of customers by electricity supplier Essential Energy and possibly others as well.
Essential Energy has admitted it has overcharged personal and business customers across NSW by $98 million and the NSW Government-owned entity has promised it will repay the fees.
What is disturbing is the sequence of events is similar to the way the misdeeds of the banks and financial services sector, which it has taken a Royal Commission to fully bring to light, have unfolded.
Just as it was "common knowledge" there was rorting in the sector, so it has been with the electricity generation and supply sector.
The so-called gold-plating of the network has been just one way suppliers have explained away skyrocketing prices consumers have paid for electricity over the past decade.
And since deregulation, accusations of "gaming the system" have been levelled at suppliers who take advantage of any excuse to create artificial electricity shortages and then charge inflated prices for power.
If the ALP has uncovered a systematic problem, will it require a Royal Commission to get to the bottom of it?
While it is good to see the money will be refunded, the depth and number of complaints about the sector shows that more investigation is warranted.