A radical proposal to split the production and retail components of major energy companies is the latest idea in a bid to rein in soaring energy prices that are crimping economic growth.
SME advocates including the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASBFEO) have been vocal in their concerns about the impact of high energy costs on SMEs.
“Business as usual is no longer an option. Business as usual is lack of reliable power and exponential price increases,” Ombudsman Kate Carnell said.
“The energy system is broken and needs to be fixed, but we can’t afford to see businesses close and jobs lost while governments and energy companies get their act together.”
And in a speech in August, Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chairman Rod Sims labelled the situation in Australia’s eastern states as “an energy affordability crisis”.
Yet energy companies are reportedly lining up to defend their operational structures in light of debate about whether their operations should be split to boost competition as a means of limiting out of control prices.
The Australian Financial Review quoted AGL Energy chief financial officer Brett Redman as saying: “the market badly needs new generation [but] breaking up vertical integration will dramatically reduce the chances of this coming from private investment”.
While business owners of all sizes are generally aghast at the prospect of direct government intervention in their operations, My Business is interested to hear your thoughts on the issue: would you support a separation of our energy giants? And do you think such a move would boost price competition among energy suppliers? Tell us your thoughts below!
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.