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TENANTS' UNION OF NSW
TENANTS’ ADVICE AND ADVOCACY SERVICES OF NSW
Embedded networks on ABC's 7.30 Report
Published on 01/11/2019
Mary Preston is an amazing member of our network of land lease community residents. She works for fairness in her community and gathers frequently with other members of the network to discuss issues and solutions. She has been a leader amongst a group of homeowners in land lease communities who our Residential Parks team have been assisting in public interest litigation as they fought against unfair energy pricing behaviour. They have recently won thousands of dollars that was unfairly charged to homeowners in their community. Read more about Mary's work and the challenges around electricity pricing in the most recent edition of Outasite, our newsletter for land lease communities.
Mary recently appeared on ABC's 7.30 Report in an investigation into embedded energy networks. These embedded networks are becoming a feature of more and more buildings, but have been part of residential parks for a long time. They are an increasing issue for people in NSW – getting trapped in one can end up costing you far more for your energy.
What is an embedded network?
Embedded networks are a way to supply electricity where the owner or operator of a building or community holds the contract with the actual energy retailer, and then sells on the energy to the residents. In theory, they should be able to negotiate a better deal with the retailer because they are buying in bulk - and this often happens. However the rules ensuring they pass on those savings to the residents didn't keep up, and as a result embedded networks are often a very tidy profit-maker for the person or company controlling the supply.
When you are looking into moving into to a building or a community, if you have the opportunity it may be worth asking about the pricing. They must still only charge you for the energy that you actually use, and only when you have your own separate meter, but quite often the price is significantly higher. Our Residential Parks team has been working on ensuring fairer pricing happens in land lease communities like Mary's and we recommend changes to the way advertising and pricing in all happens to ensure residents are not mislead into paying too much. Energy is already a significant cost for many people - we should not make it even worse!