The Tasmanian Greens today welcomed the release of the Draft Report of the Independent Assessment of the Tasmanian Electricity Supply Industry Panel, saying it is the first time such a comprehensive assessment of the State’s energy sector has been conducted.

Greens Energy spokesperson Kim Booth MP said that this Draft Report vindicates the Greens’ argument that a strategic review of the State’s long-term energy strategy was essential for Tasmanian electricity customers to be able to achieve a sustainable low price for energy while ensuring viable energy supplies into the future.

Mr Booth also said that this important concrete body of work is the first step in a series which was made possible by the Greens’ initiative negotiated with Labor and passed by the State Parliament last year.

“Although this is only a Draft Report at this stage it is very clear that the Tamar Valley Power Station (AETV) has been a very high-cost electricity producer, for which unfortunately the mum and dad electricity consumer is paying through the nose,” Mr Booth said.

“The Independent Panel has identified many issues, problems and strengths within the state’s electricity sector. One thing the Draft Report emphasises is that until whilst ever Hydro’s wholesale monopoly exists, there is no possibility of a proper competitive retail market in Tasmania, and thus power prices wil remain high.”

“The Independent Panel have also pulled together interesting information regarding the positive and negative inter-relationships between the state’s power entities, how they operate in the markets and how that impacts on both non-contestable customers and a long-term energy strategy for the state.”

“In particular, the Independent Panel has presented three proposed Reform Paths forward upon which they are seeking public comments. Their preferred draft position for option 2, for example, canvasses Hydro Tasmania focussing on generation and dispatch with the volatile and risky re-selling operations handled by a number of independent power trading entities.”

“Another key area for discussion presented in the Draft Report is the governance issues in regard to the structures, and clearly there will be some hard decisions needed to be made by government in the future to address these.”

“Following the release of this Draft Report and associated documentation today, the Panel will be holding another round of public hearing and submission in February to prepare for the final report expected in March next year, and the Greens urge the public and stakeholders to engage with this important opportunity and process,” Mr Booth said.

Download: Terms of Reference as negotiated by the Greens and passed by the State Parliament, 2010.

Electricity Supply Industry Expert Panel website:

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Matthew Groom MP
Shadow Minister for Energy

Thursday December 15, 2011

Electricity Panel supports Liberal push for full retail contestability

We warmly welcome today’s draft report from the Electricity Supply Industry Expert Panel which provides yet further support for the Liberals’ push for full retail contestability in the Tasmanian electricity market.

As the Tasmanian Liberals have long been saying and as the Panel has today made clear, the introduction of full retail contestability is in the best interests Tasmanian power consumers.

The Panel has also confirmed that there is no impediment to immediately moving to open up the market to competition and that retailers are keen to participate.

The Panel has identified some reform options to provide greater price transparency in the wholesale market and maximise outcomes. We will give careful consideration to the options but we remain committed to our policy of implementing full retail contestability as efficiently and effectively as possible.

What the Panel has also made clear is that under the current retail price determination households and small businesses are paying between 5% and 10% more for their power they the need to be*.

The Government must now support the Tasmanian Liberals push to remove this unfair cost burden on households and small businesses already drowning under the weight of power price pressure. What we now know is that not only are Tasmanian power bills amongst the highest in the country – they are also paying more for their power bills than they should be.

The Government now has nowhere to hide on this issue – it now has no choice but to back the Tasmanian Liberals’ push for the introduction of full retail contestability as soon as possible.

*For a typical Tasmanian household bill this equates to up to $240 per year based on an assessment undertaken by the Tasmanian Economic Regulator as set out on its website.