21 September 2017

Power bulk buy to cut apartment tenants' electricity bills

| Ian Bushnell
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The Manhattan on the Park complex. Photo: Charlotte Harper

Apartment block tenants may soon see their power bills reduced under a draft bill to be introduced to the Legislative Assembly to allow the bulk buying of electricity by the building owner.

Minister for Climate Change Shane Rattenbury said the Utilities Legislation Amendment Bill to be introduced today would help remove barriers to new business models and technologies entering the energy market.

He said the legislation would allow for the ‘bulk buy’ purchase of energy within a single building at a discounted rate.

“For example, instead of an electricity retailer having separate arrangements with each individual tenant within the building (say up to 50 small contracts), the building would have a single large contract with the electricity provider—and receive discounted electricity prices as a result,” the Minister said.

He said the Bill would allow new electricity billing arrangements for anyone who may be in what is termed an “embedded network”, which are most commonly implemented in apartment buildings, shopping centres, retirement villages and caravan parks.

“Tenants would still continue to pay for their own electricity use, but they would benefit from the discounted ‘bulk buy’ electricity prices,” he said.

He said this ‘bulk buy’ arrangement would apply to anywhere there were multiple tenants within a single building including apartment complexes, shops within a larger shopping centre, and businesses located within the same building.

Mr Rattenbury said that there had been interest already from local Canberra innovators interested in making this ‘bulk buy’ arrangement a reality.

He said the amendments to the Utilities Act implemented recommendations from the Australian Energy Market Commission’s Power of Choice Review, which aim to provide additional options for tenants where they were able to purchase their electricity at lower cost.

Tenants in an embedded network would have their basic customer rights protected under the Utilities Act, a spokesman for the Minister said.

Are there any building owners who would take this up?

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ChrisinTurner3:37 pm 25 Sep 17

I suspect it cannot apply to strata-titled apartments, only to complexes with one owner like ANU accommodations.

Does this mean individual apartment dwellers will lose their ability to choose their energy retailer?

Why can’t this offer be extended to suburbs as well?

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