Page 3235 - Week 10 - Tuesday, 18 October 2022

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The complexities involved in investigating the issues surrounding embedded electricity networks mean that a resolution may take a little bit of time. It may need to come in stages. I think that the reporting date Mr Pettersson has suggested is quite appropriate. It may be that we are able to provide some information sooner, but it will depend on how much we are able to leverage off what other jurisdictions have done, and also to consider whether this work might need to be done in stages.

I welcome this matter coming before the Assembly today. There are some important issues to be examined in this space. As has been discussed in the debate, there are opportunities in embedded networks. Certainly, the original intent identified the potential for both cost savings and innovations. As is always the case when these things start to be used by some, it invites reflection on whether the laws are working as intended and whether reform is needed.

This is a timely and appropriate opportunity to consider that, and talk about whether we need further consumer protections or whether we need to pursue the Victorian pathway. These are matters on which I will be pleased to report back to the Assembly in the course of next year.

MR PETTERSSON (Yerrabi) (4.06), in reply: I want to thank all members of the Assembly who contributed to today’s debate. I would like to thank the many Canberrans that have reached out to me and raised this issue. I particularly want to thank those that have shared not just their time but their electricity bills.

Embedded networks are clearly a complex issue. In theory, they level the playing field between big users and the little guy. They should offer discounted utility prices, but they do not always do so. Sadly, the positive experience that we envisaged when first introducing embedded networks has not been the reality for all Canberrans on an embedded network.

For me, moving forward, there are a few key guiding principles. I want Canberrans to have low utility bills. I want Canberrans to have choice when deciding on their utility provider. I want all Canberrans to have appropriate consumer protections. And I want appropriate regulations. I am optimistic, as is Minister Rattenbury, that a review and follow-up action will put Canberra on the right path.

In closing, I would like to thank all members who have contributed to this debate. I look forward to the review process and the findings that it produces.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Appropriation Bill 2022-2023

[Cognate bill:

Appropriation (Office of the Legislative Assembly) Bill 2022-2023]

Cognate papers:

Estimates 2022-2023—Select Committee report

Estimates 2022-2023—Select Committee report—government response]

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