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Energy Policy Sucks Life Out of Local Business

Kim Booth

Kim Booth  -  Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Tags: Renewable Energy, TasNetworks

The Liberal government’s energy policy vacuum risks locking in a sector ‘death spiral’ where increasing power and transmission costs are carried by fewer customers, as consumers who can leave are driven out of the state, Greens Leader and Energy spokesperson Kim Booth MP warned today.

“Submissions to the current Senate Committee enquiry, including one by Bell Bay Aluminium, toll a grim warning to the Hodgman government that they need to either adopt the Greens’ energy policy or develop one that doesn’t drive power prices through the roof,” Mr Booth said. [1]

“The Liberals must heed the death spiral warning that this pattern of unstrategic decisions risks driving out of the state those consumers who can leave, while the remaining customers who have no choice are bled dry to cover the spiralling costs incurred by state energy entities.”

“Make no mistake, every wasted dollar spent on gold plating transmission assets or loading TasNetworks with debt, will end up on the power bills of small and local businesses, Mums and Dads, as well as big companies.”

“The independent Electricity Expert Panel’s advice provided to parliament in 2012, recommended a clear pathway to avoid risk and electricity cost blowouts, however the Liberals joined with Labor to reject their recommendations.”

“It is extremely concerning that the Liberals’ claim that loading up TasNetworks with someone else’s debt of $325 million, or making the entity pay $30 million for Forestry Tasmania’s losses will not increase costs.”

“Those sort of claims by Treasurer Gutwein are a frightening insight on how this Liberal government either is prepared to be loose with the truth, or has no understanding of how business works.”

“The last thing Tasmania needs is ideological-driven changes to the state’s energy sector, instead of implementation of the comprehensive expertise-based reforms detailed by the Energy Expert Panel.”

“A 200% increase in transmission charges over five years is an outrageous and unjustifiable impost on all Tasmanian electricity users and unless this government stops using TasNetworks as a milking cow and brings it back to its sole purpose, we will see local business and families driven out of the state and the real possibility of a death spiral which will have a very serious effect on the economy,” Mr Booth said.