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Title: Social/energy policy : an inquiry into the intersection of two policy domains with Australia's national electricity market
Author: Nance, Andrew John
ISNI:       0000 0004 7230 9162
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2018
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The introduction of competition to electricity markets has been a priority of energy policy in Australia for over 20 years. Throughout this process, economic efficiency objectives have had explicit primacy over social or environmental objectives. Neoliberalism, or economic rationalism as it is often referred to in Australia, not only radically changed the provision of electricity from the 1990s but recast the provision of welfare services by transferring many services from provision by government to provision by ‘private welfare agencies’. Energy policy and social policy can therefore be seen to have been placed on similar paths towards market-based provision of service to households. Importantly this has shifted many frontline responsibilities away from governments to energy retailers and community sector organisations. The electricity market’s consumer safety net has been described as a shared responsibility between industry, governments and community sector organisations. This shared responsibility represents the intersection of energy policy and social policy in Australia akin to fuel poverty policies internationally. However, this intersection is ill-defined and not systemically governed. The key role of community sector organisations in particular is rarely formalised. This research represents the first attempt to develop a coordinated national policy framework for the consumer safety net of Australia’s National Electricity Market. The research question that this thesis seeks to answer is: • When considering a consumer safety net for consumers in a liberalised electricity market, what is an appropriate analytical framework for policy and practice that can be used by stakeholders to improve governance and consumer outcomes? • Subsequently, what priorities emerge from this framework that could be advanced through the policy cycle? In response, this thesis provides a comprehensive, structured review and analysis of the relationship between energy policy and social policy at a time when electricity pricing is undergoing significant changes in terms of structures (tariff reform) and upward pressure as a result of climate change policies and the development of a natural gas export industry. - 4 - The theory and practice of public policy analysis is summarised and guides the structure of the thesis. The research argues for a systematic approach based on the pursuit of 5 public policy outcomes that reflect the interaction between household energy bills and energy, climate and social policies: ● Stable and Efficient Pricing AND ● Informed and engaged consumers AND ● Energy consumed efficiently and productively AND ● Robust consumer protections AND ● All households have a capacity to pay their energy bills This thesis provides context in Chapters 1 and 2 then a chapter is dedicated to each of the five policy outcomes. In each case, the research and analysis is presented in four parts that represent key stages of a policy cycle, the way in which public policy evolves over time: a review of the current arrangements; analysis to identify key issues; empirical analysis and; policy formulation. Consequently, priority policy issues are identified, and recommendations made in the concluding chapter.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available