ACCC’s Rod Sims calls for ‘congestion pricing’

It also called for road pricing to be introduced as a means to manage congestion. "Congestion pricing" could boost efficiencies not just in road transport, but also in the electricity sector and other areas such as trucking freight to ports and at airports in the allocation of take-off and landing slots, Mr Sims will tell the conference. "The most efficient way to ration or allocate limited capacity and for businesses and governments to receive the right signals about the need for new infrastructure, is for users to face prices that vary according to the supply and demand conditions at their time of use," Mr Sims is to say.

His comments follow comments by the outgoing chairman of the Australian Energy Regulator, Andrew Reeves, who has called for "peak pricing" in the electricity network sector, rather than hiking the fixed charges levied on users. ‘‘Network tariff reform to protect the value of the network - by increased fixed charges - won’t work,’’ Mr Reeves said. ‘‘We need to move to an era of peak pricing.

His comments follow a surge in the profits of toll road owner and operator Transurban earlier this week, thanks to double-digit growth in traffic on some of its prime mid-city assets. "Australia now has an opportunity to engage in structural reform of road provision and charging, leading to considerable productivity benefits," Mr Sims is to tell the conference. "All Australians understand why it costs more to rent a beach house in January than July.

It is already used on Sydney‘s two harbour crossings, with tolls raised during peak hour, for example. "The reason to privatise assets is to promote economic efficiency," Mr Sims, the chairman of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, is to tell a conference on regulation on Thursday. "With sound regulation the private sector will operate businesses more efficiently as they will have better incentives for, and impose fewer constraints on, performance.

Read more here: SMH


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