Greens ready to back government reining in electricity networks

The Australian Greens have said they are ready to back moves to start reining in spending by power network companies, as announced by the Turnbull government today. However, the Greens are more cautious about the push to require AEMO to look at dispatchable generation, as it seems predicated on coal-fired generation remaining in the system for an unreasonably long time.

Quotes attributable to Senator Larissa Waters, Greens Deputy Leader and mining and resources spokesperson: 

“Labor and the Liberal/Nationals locked in massive gas price hikes by approving the massive Gladstone export terminals and clearing the way for the Queensland fracking explosion that feeds them.

"What the Prime Minister doesn’t understand is that what we actually need is a plan to transition homes and businesses off dirty gas and onto clean, reliable renewable energy.”

Quotes attributable to Adam Bandt MP, climate and energy spokesperson:

“This change is only part of the solution, but it is well overdue. The power companies have been fleecing consumers for years, gold-plating their networks and ignoring more cost-effective alternatives, like managing demand. Recent court decisions only reinforced the need for action,” said Mr Bandt.

"The electricity grid is an essential service, not an opportunity for big companies to make big profits at the public's expense, so we welcome government intervention and greater public control of our energy networks.

“Network charges make up almost half an electricity bill. If we can stop big power companies overspending on poles and wires and make them invest in energy savings and networks that support renewables, we can help reduce pollution and cut power bills.

“The Greens will need to see the detail of the bill before forming a final view, but in principle we would back legislation that curbs limited merits review, which the networks have been using to boost their regulated expenditure and grow their profits.

“AEMO already makes forecasts on the future for generation. The time for simply looking at the closure of coal-fired power is gone. We need to close the equivalent of a Hazelwood a year to meet climate targets, which means a government regulated timetable or other mechanism to drive an orderly transition and timely new investment. We don’t need another review, we need a national plan for the energy transition.”

Media Contacts:

Waters: Lauren Gillin - 0419 626 725

Bandt: Gideon Reisner - 0429 109 054