Meat processors get ACCC approval for electricity tenders

Sheep Central, November 27, 2017

A GROUP of eastern states’ sheep meat, beef, pork and poultry processors will be allowed to establish a joint energy purchasing group and run joint tender processes for electricity and gas for 11 years.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission made the determination for the Eastern Energy Buyers Group, whose current members are industrial energy users who operate in the agriculture industry.

The new Eastern Energy Buyers Group’s members have significant operations in Victoria and some operations interstate in agriculture and are industrial energy users, the ACCC said. They include the Colac and Melbourne-based Australian Lamb Co; Laverton North renderer CSF Proteins Pty Ltd and pork processor Diamond Valley Pork; Victorian beef, sheep and pork processor the Gathercole Group; Tongala beef processor HW Greenham and Sons; Geelong beef and lamb processor MC Herd; animal nutrition manufacturer Ridley AgriProducts, New South Wales pork processor Rivalea (Australia) Pty Ltd, and Thomastown poultry and cheese processor Turi Foods and its farming division.

The proposed joint tender process would cover supply of electricity, gas and gas transport services to members of the group.

The ACCC said other industrial energy users may join the group, provided the combined annual energy consumption does not exceed 16 petajoules of gas or 4.5 terawatt hours of electricity. This is equivalent to around 10 per cent of Victorian consumption.

ACCC chairman Rod Sims said joint purchasing of electricity and gas will generate efficiencies compared to each member of the purchasing group sourcing energy separately.

“This joint tendering process is likely to result in public benefits as the group should be able to seek gas and electricity at a more competitive price.”

Aggregating the groups’ demand and jointly tendering for long term contracts may also provide incentives for investment in new generation. This could include a small-scale power purchase agreement where EEBG would commit to acquiring the generator’s capacity up-front, the ACCC said.

The ACCC also considered the jointly sharing of costs likely to result from the tender provided a further source of public benefit.

“There will be minimal public detriment from the proposed conduct. EEBG’s members currently account for a relatively small proportion for both total gas and electricity demand in Victoria,” Mr Sims said.

Further information about the application for authorisation is available on the ACCC’s public register: The Eastern Energy Buyers Group – Authorisations – A91594 & A91595.

Interim authorisation granted in September

The ACCC granted interim authorisation in September 2017 to enable EEBG to investigate their options and issue tenders while the ACCC considered the substantive application.  The ACCC also issued a draft determination proposing to allow the conduct in October 2017.

This is the second energy buying group the ACCC has authorised this year. The ACCC authorised the South Australian Chamber of Mines and Energy, along with 27 other South Australian businesses, to establish a joint electricity purchasing group in May 2017.

Authorisation provides statutory protection from court action for conduct that might otherwise raise concerns under the competition provisions of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010.

Broadly, the ACCC may grant an authorisation when it is satisfied that the public benefit resulting from the conduct outweighs any public detriment. Authorisation is sought as the proposed conduct may contain a cartel provision or may have the purpose or effect of substantially lessening competition or be an exclusionary provision within the meaning of section 45 of the Act.

Source: ACCC.


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Your comment will not appear until it has been moderated.
Contributions that contravene our Comments Policy will not be published.


Get Sheep Central's news headlines emailed to you -