Worries for consumers if AGL is allowed to buy MacGen
Source: SMH, 26 May 2014
Consumers will be the losers if one of Australia's largest integrated energy companies, AGL, is allowed to acquire the biggest single electricity generator, Macquarie Generation, the Australian Competition Tribunal has been warned.
AGL's bid to acquire the generator has been blocked by the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission over concerns the move could reduce market competition. The matter is now before the Australian Competition Tribunal, for a ruling on whether the purchase should be allowed to proceed.
"We don't need a 'big three' power providers," Matt Levy, campaign director of the consumer lobby group Choice, said. "We already have two big supermarket operators, the big four banks." If the deal were allowed to proceed, "will the benefits of market integration accrue to the end users, the consumers?"
Choice said the three largest energy companies - AGL, Origin Energy and the Hong Kong-controlled EnergyAustralia - already control an estimated 77 per cent of the market for small electricity users and as much as 85 per cent of the gas market. In a separate analysis, the Australian Energy Regulator has estimated that in four of the six jurisdictions of the electricity market, these big three retailers account for more than 90 per cent of the electricity and gas markets.
The deal comes in the wake of a move to deregulate NSW's electricity market.