Electricity pricing report first step for cheaper and cleaner power but Government action needed to go further

After securing National Energy Market reform in the Multi-Party Climate Change Committee, the Greens have worked to secure a parliamentary committee on electricity pricing. Its report today is an important first step a better national energy market that will provide cheaper and cleaner power to the community.

Greens Leader Senator Christine Milne said, “The ball is now in the Government’s court to move strongly on these reforms, and to go much further. The Greens are supporting the report’s recommendations, but we believe it needs to go further and implement:

• an environmental objective to be inserted into the National Electricity Objective;

• a scheme to require networks to reduce peak demand, which is the main driver of higher energy prices; and

• a national energy savings target and the National Energy Savings Initiative

“Reforming the National Energy Market to make sure it delivers cheaper and cleaner electricity has long been a passion of mine that has been ignored by governments, oppositions and the media, so I’m delighted to have been able to drive this important step in the process.”

“Having put energy market reform on the table during the MPCCC negotiations, I’m very pleased that this report and the COAG process next month will bring it a step closer. But there is still much more to be done.

“Big gaps are left in this report with the omission of an environmental objective into the National Electricity Objective, so that regulators minimise pollution; and its failure to tackle the enormous peaks in demand which are what is really driving infrastructure investment and higher electricity prices.

“The Greens have worked with experts across industry for months and they have identified that a scheme requiring networks to invest in reducing peak demand is the best thing that can be done to reduce electricity price pressures. I’m very disappointed that the committee has left this central issue untouched and will keep the pressure up to make it happen in the months ahead.

“Having said that, establishing a standard connection, fair pricing and licencing regime and introducing measures to de-couple network revenue from energy consumption are central to providing cheaper and cleaner power to the community, and the Greens heartily endorse this step.

“Establishing the Australian Energy Market Operator as a NEM-wide planning agency is also an excellent step as AEMO has shown in Victoria that creating an independent planner is a sensible step. AEMO is also the agency tasked with developing a strategy for moving Australia to 100% renewable energy thanks to the Greens’ negotiations with the government.

“A National Energy Savings Initiative is sensible policy to help householders and businesses find efficiencies that will save them money, reduce pressures on energy networks and cut the pollution that is driving global warming.

“This initiative has not only long been Greens policy but also has been recommended by the Government’s own energy efficiency taskgroup. It’s time to move forward with it at next month’s COAG.”

Link to audio of Joint Press Conference with Adam Bandt:
Senator Christine Milne, Greens Leader