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Small businesses ‘don’t trust’ energy companies

Small business owners say they don’t trust energy retailers as new figures show business electricity bills are spiking compared to last year.

Businesses in South Australia, the ACT and NSW have seen the largest price increases, while Tasmanian prices have dropped.

Energy Consumers Australia tracks the energy bills small businesses get in each state, and compares them based on the previous year’s prices.

“Small businesses are telling us that trust in energy retailers has never been so low, and only one-third say the market is working in their interest,” acting Chief Executive Lynne Gallagher said in a report released on Tuesday.

According to numbers from April 2018, a business using 20,000 kWh a year would spend $8650 in South Australia, the highest price, and $5500 in Tasmania at the lowest end.

Prices in SA and the ACT are up 22 per cent on the previous year, they’re up 15 per cent in NSW, but down two per cent in Tasmania.

“Small business consumers are saying they want to be able to run a competitive small business, but electricity prices are making that harder and clearly this is having a negative impact across the small business sector,” Gallagher said.

“With electricity prices going up by double digits for many businesses in the past year, trust can only be rebuilt with consumers in this market when they start paying lower bills than they are today.”

The federal government is negotiating with the states over its national energy guarantee, which is designed to ensure reliable and affordable power while also reaching Australia’s emissions targets.

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