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The Energy Consumer Sentiment Survey is a long-term project for Energy Consumers Australia. It is designed to provide information on household and small business consumer sentiment with a focus on the three key areas of satisfaction, confidence and activity. As the survey is undertaken every six months it tracks changes in sentiment over time and detect trends which can inform energy market and policy development in the long-term interests of consumers.
The responses to this June 2017 survey may have been influenced by a number of ‘top-of- mind’ events in energy markets, that occurred leading up to and including summer.
- the closure of Hazelwood power station in Victoria which was announced in November 2016, and the subsequent significant increases in retail prices in Victoria from 1 January 2017 which ranged from 6.1% to 10.5% (according to the Australian Energy Regulator’s State of the Energy Market May 2017 report);
- heatwaves and extreme weather over summer resulted in unexpected power outages and load shedding, most frequently, and with significant impacts, in South Australia, in Perth and South West regions of Western Australia and in northern Queensland from Tropical Cyclone Debbie;
- announcements of reviews and government plans to address long-term power system security, problems with gas availability for Australian consumers and two major retail energy market reviews – an Independent Panel in Victoria, and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission; and
- an increasing recognition in the community of the potential for future increases in electricity and gas prices for consumers as Australia transitions towards zero emissions.