The test of Malcolm Turnbull’s latest energy talkfest will be when millions of households across the country open their next electricity bill.
But there have already been warnings from Energy Consumers Australia that the agreements the Prime Minister got from energy retailers to inform customers of bill changes are not enough and will bypass up to 50 per cent of households.
These households are already on “standing offers” or the highest tariff and will not be notified if there is a cheaper energy bill option.
Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg has already conceded this point today, but he hasn’t explained why his government isn’t forcing retailers to inform all customers of the best deals available.
Labor welcomes any change that delivers a better deal for Australian consumers but we know more could be done than the Turnbull Government has secured form their morning tea with industry.
We also know that at the end of the day, a factsheet and letter from your electricity provider will not address the big factors driving energy prices up and up.
All the experts, as well as the Government’s own Finkel Review, have made it clear the biggest driver of rising power bills is national policy paralysis stopping new investment and driving up wholesale electricity prices.
The Government’s inability to deliver a national energy policy that supports investment has led to wholesale power prices doubling and pollution once again rising their watch.
The weakness of the Prime Minister means he can’t even get his own party room to agree on a clean energy target (CET) as recommended by his own Finkel Review, even though a CET is estimated to lower power prices by 10 percent.
The energy crisis will continue to worsen with prices and pollution continuing to rise until the Government agrees on a Clean Energy Target and works with Labor to deliver bipartisan energy policy.