Govt out of step on energy prices

A new Guardian Essential poll shows a clear majority of Australians support increased regulation of energy prices and investment in renewable energy.

The poll of 1826 voters found 86 per cent support for the regulation of power prices and 81 per cent support for more investment in renewable energy and storage.

The survey presented nine ideas to reduce the cost of energy usage. The least popular options were building or subsidising new coal plants and allowing more onshore exploration of gas.

The increasing disaffection with coal-fired power runs counter to the Government’s recent actions in trying to keep coal-fired power stations from shutting down.

The Government has asked energy company AGL to extend the life of its coal-fired Liddell power plant by five years and is also considering a $1 billion loan for Adani to establish a new coal mine in Queensland.

The Government has also been loath to support moves to directly intervene in regulating energy prices, preferring to seek non-binding commitments from energy companies.

Electrical Trades Union national secretary Allen Hicks said the poll showed that the Federal Government was out of touch with the community on energy and that their non-binding approach to bringing down prices was likely to be ineffective.

“The business community has never done anything that was not in their interest because a government asked them nicely, and this is no exception,” Mr Hicks said.

Mr Hicks praised the Victorian Government for taking steps to re-regulate the industry and get prices back under control.

The move is a central recommendation of the government-commissioned review of the state’s retail electricity market that was recommended by a panel chaired by former deputy premier John Thwaites.

“In the retail space, regulation of prices is a significant step towards lower power bills, and the Victorian Government have realised that,” Mr Hicks said.

Mr Hicks said that the polling was a clear indicator that the Turnbull government was out of touch with the community on energy.

“Where people want meaningful, binding regulation on retailers, Mr Turnbull delivers lectures and showmanship.

“And people want to see their future secured by investments in renewables and storage, but Mr Turnbull is more interested in appeasing his backbench and protecting his job. His failure to show leadership will drive prices even higher.”

What do you think? Would you like to see energy prices re-regulated around Australia?

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How to use less electricity

Written by Ben

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