ATA releases report on lowering electricity bills and delivering energy security

The Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance is proud to announce the release of our submission to the NSW government today on combatting high power prices and delivering energy security through cheap, reliable power.

Australians pay some of the highest electricity bills in the world despite access to abundant and cheap national resources. This is mainly the result of poor policy by successive governments and it is time that decisive action was taken to relieve hard-working Aussie families and businesses.

Our report canvasses the evidence and provides viable short and long-term measures which will lower power prices to ensure that Australians benefit from cheap and reliable energy for generations to come. We call on the government to implement these reforms in order to make NSW a competitive and productive powerhouse economy.

Recommendations include:

  • That the NSW government lobby the federal government (through COAG) to lift the moratorium on nuclear power by repealing Section 10 of the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Act and Section 140A of the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act. NOTE: In the event that the moratorium is lifted, the ATA recommends that a federal government inquiry be undertaken to formulate appropriate national regulatory standards for the nuclear energy industry which are cogent with international best practice, safety and community concerns as well as the need to ensure that the technology remains commercially viable without excessive regulatory burden. It is submitted that the UK model is an example of one which Australia/NSW can use to model its regulatory framework.

  • That the NSW government seek private investment for the construction of new coal-fired power stations (including brown coal generators) which will continue to deliver cheap, reliable energy and can act as back-ups for renewable energy generators.

  • That the NSW government reduce or repeal regulations preventing further exploration and development of natural gas resources.

  • That the NSW government extend the Clean Energy Scheme to include finance to low emissions coal and nuclear energy projects, thereby ensuring neutral treatment.

  • That the NSW government cuts green tape and incentivises private investment in the energy generation sector by reducing the large subsidies afforded to solar and wind energy in recognition of the need for a competitive energy mix as well as the increase in private investment in the solar and wind energy industries which has reduced the necessity for subsidy.

  • That the NSW government maintains the deregulated state of electricity prices in the state.

  • That the NSW government boosts competition in energy prices through an online database and advisory designed to inform and empower consumers through information about available offers and tips on negotiating better offers from retailers.

  • That the NSW government boosts competition in energy prices by encouraging more players to enter the retail electricity space, such as by reducing regulatory burdens that act as barriers to entry.

  • That the NSW government adopts a regulatory methodology for energy which is modelled on the best practice of Victoria in order to reduce over-investment in assets.

  • That the NSW government fully privatises electricity distribution and transmission networks which have led to Victorians and the people of the ACT paying lower electricity prices than states with publicly-owned networks in the NEM.

  • That the NSW government does not consider implementing ‘smart meters’.

  • That the NSW government abolishes the energy rebate available to all recipients of the family tax benefit A or B and instead institutes a means test that applies the rebate only to those individuals who earn $40,000 per annum or less.

  • That the NSW government utilise the savings incurred through the implementation of the point above to offset increases to the following financial or medical hardship-based rebates: low income household rebate, medical energy rebate, life support rebate, gas rebate, EAPA scheme.

  • That the NSW government extend the ban on charging exit fees to all customers in NSW who switch plans.

  • That the NSW government abolishes the state-level Renewable Energy Target and lobbies the federal government (through COAG) to withdraw Australia from the Paris Accord.

  • That the NSW government abolishes environmental schemes which distort the energy market and drive up prices for consumers.

  • That NSW exits the National Electricity Market and caters exclusively to its own electricity market, consistent with the approach of Western Australia and the Northern Territory.

The full report can be viewed here.

Kyle Williams is a Research Associate of the Australian Taxpayers Alliance

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