Tasmanian Electricity Supply Bill Receives Assent

Friday 7 December 2018 @ 2.59 p.m. | Legal Research

After having been introduced to Tasmania Parliament’s House of Assembly on 22 May 2018 by the Hon Peter Gutwein MP, the Electricity Supply Industry Amendment (Price Cap) Bill 2018 (Tas) passed Tasmania’s Legislative Council on 1 November 2018 and was enacted as the Electricity Supply Industry Amendment (Price Cap) Act 2018 (Act 24 of 2018) on 16 November 2018, commencing on the same day.

The Act amends the following Tasmanian legislation:

  • Electricity Supply Industry Act 1995; and
  • Electricity Supply Industry Amendment (Pricing) Act 2017.


The purpose of the legislation is to amend the Electricity Supply Industry Act 1995 to cap the annual increase in regulated electricity prices at the rate of change in the Hobart Consumer Price Index (“CPI”) for three years from 2018-19.

The legislation provides that the Tasmanian Economic Regulator must not approve standing offer prices submitted to it by a regulated offer retailer for an applicable financial year “if those prices are higher than the tariffs for the previous financial year indexed by the change in the Hobart CPI for the applicable year”.

Overview of the Amendments

According to the Bill’s Explanatory Memorandum (“EM”):

“… [The Bill] amends the Electricity Supply Industry Amendment (Pricing) Act 2017 to extend the application of the Wholesale Electricity Price (WEP) Order provisions, which were inserted in the Electricity Supply Industry Act in June 2017, for a further two years. Therefore, the Minister may, under the Electricity Supply Industry Act, determine an amount to be the WEP for the 2018-19, 2019-20 and 2020-21 financial years … The [Act] included a two year sunset clause whereby the Minister must, within 18 months of the commencement of the provisions, undertake an independent review of the operation of the WEP order provisions and table a report in each House of Parliament …”

Comment on the Legislation

In his Second Reading Speech, Minister Gutwein commented:

“… The Government is committed to keeping cost of living increases for Government services as low as possible. Members would be well aware of the impact electricity prices have on the household budgets and the cost of doing business … This Bill before you today delivers on our commitment to take action on the cost of living and provides for increases in regulated electricity prices for small customers to be capped at the rate of change in the Hobart Consumer Price Index.”

The Independent Member for Murchison, Ruth Forrest MLC said:

“… I will not be opposing this legislation … it remains a concern when governments interfere in energy pricing … This response from the Government is to give effect to a policy to keep energy prices low for Tasmanians.  That is a really good thing because many Tasmanians are struggling to pay their energy bills.”

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Electricity Supply Industry Amendment (Price Cap) Bill 2018 – Ruth Forrest MLC, Independent Member for Murchison (7 November 2018)

Electricity Supply Industry Amendment (Price Cap) Bill 2018 (Tas) - Bill and supporting information available from TimeBase LawOne Service. 

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