A DISCUSSION paper released by NSW Farmers Association seeks an inquiry into practices by electricity retailers in the regions.
Along with the inquiry the lobby group is pressing for a $20 million agriculture-electricity innovation fund as a part of its Future Of Electricity In Regional NSW submission.
NSW Farmers president Derek Schoen said it was important governments recognised the electricity challenge in the bush is distinctly different to the ones facing cities.
"The one-size-fits-all policy approach to electricity has left regional and rural users worse off," he said.
"Energy and electricity is a significant input cost for farmers, particularly those involved in dairy, horticulture or irrigation, which is around 30-40% of costs."
Mr Schoen says the typical user in the bush is paying 25% more for electricity than someone in Sydney or Newcastle.
"We have had a myriad of reviews into electricity and not one review dealt with the issue of uncompetitive retail markets in regional and rural areas.
"There are more cost-effective ways to provide electricity to regional users including the use of localised renewable and distributed energy generation and the harnessing of localised electricity storage systems.
"A great opportunity exists to harness renewables and storage technologies, not only to reduce costs and improve reliability but build capacity in these communities."
The discussion paper recommends a $20 million agriculture-electricity innovation fund to identify and pilot projects that could reduce costs.
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19 December 2018
20 December 2018