Report calls for privatisation of Australian power networks

A draft Productivity Commission report in Australia has called for privatisation of state-owned electricity networks and introduction of new pricing to cut costs for consumers.

According to the report, Electricity Network Regulation Frameworks, regulation and ownership arrangements for networks needed to be overhauled.

Rising electricity prices in the last five years had been caused by the cost of the wires and poles that made up the network, it said.

The 50 per cent hike could be attributed to increasing network costs, industry inefficiencies and a flawed regulatory environment.

According to inquiry commissioner Philip Weickhardt, the current regulatory regime was undermining the capacity of network managers to run their businesses efficiently and put barriers to consumer involvement.

He said there was no quick fix, but their proposed reforms could deliver a more efficient system and potentially save billions of dollars.