A Moment of Silence for the NEG

Monday 3 September, 2018 | By: Olivia Van der Wagen

A MOMENT OF SILENCE FOR THE NEG

Last week the newly appointed Energy Minister, Angus Taylor, delivered his maiden energy speech. Mr Taylor clearly stated his only goal as Energy Minister – to reduce power prices while keeping the lights on.

The new minister plans to achieve this by:

  • Empowering customers with a price safety net by establishing a default market price and having price comparison websites
  • Having more competition and supply reliability and
  • Stopping of price gouging by, amongst others, reforming the limited merits review.

In adopting the title the “Minister for reducing electricity prices,” Mr Taylor didn't address was how the government intends on bringing policy stability to a sector in desperate need of such. This is a concerning omission as policy stability is essential for  investment and investment is vital for lowering electricity prices. Unfortunately without a bipartisan energy policy and with the NEG appearing to be dead and buried, it’s unclear how energy policy certainty comes into the mix.

In a separate announcement, the Queensland government announced the establishment of CleanCo, a publicly owned renewable energy  power station. CleanCo promises a saving on electricity bills of around $70 a year but this comes with a hefty price tag - an initial injection of $250 million. It is expected that CleanCo will be trading in the National Electricity Market by mid-2019.

It is evidently clear that while both Federal and State government are focussing on reducing electricity prices, they aim to achieve this though different means. At what point they will butt heads in doing so remains to be seen.

CCIQ has always advocated for lowering electricity prices, and will continue to do so, but has also advocated for policy certainty and stability. With the new Liberal leadership ‘going at it alone’, policy certainty is but a fleeting memory the NEG once promised to deliver.

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