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Power prices threaten print businesses: PIAA

Wednesday, 12 July 2017
By Print21

Printing Industries has warned that “unsustainable” increases in electricity prices and unreliable supply are “a serious and immediate threat” to the survival of Australian print businesses and to print industry jobs.

In a submission to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) inquiry into the national electricity market ordered by Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison, the PIAA says the retail electricity market and industry jobs are headed for a crash.

“We have relayed to the ACCC some of the compelling and potentially devastating examples of electricity price increases which members have given us – anything from 5-6% up to 200%,” says Andrew Macaulay, CEO of Printing Industries. 

“One of our large Melbourne-based members faces an increase from $120K per annum to $360K per annum once its existing contract expires on 31 December 2017. That’s 3-fold and totally unsustainable.

“The ACCC will be concerned to know that many of our members have incurred these increases despite decreasing the amount of electricity they use.  Over a 5-year period, our regional Queensland member, Lotsa Print and Signage, paid 27% more for electricity, despite having decreased consumption by 18%.  And that has meant turning air conditioners off – in far north Queensland!  Without using less electricity, our member would have been paying 40% more.”

Macaulay accuses electricity suppliers of manipulating the market to increase their profits.

“It is very clear that the major electricity suppliers and distribution networks have witnessed their customers’ reduced power consumption and have consequently adjusted their prices to maintain and increase their revenue against the trendline of decreasing power use.”

“This is not sustainable,” says Macaulay. “Either power companies will have to take a hit in value and revenue, or their customers, including our members, will have to do so.

“If the current scenario continues, the consequences for employment will be dire. The sooner that Governments can force or encourage a readjustment to this conduct, the less damage will be done to industries like print, which rely on competitive power prices.”

Read the full submission here.



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