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Liberals' Pre-Election Tinkering on Energy

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Tags: Renewable Energy, Cost of Living

Rosalie Woodruff MP | Greens' Energy spokesperson 

The Hodgman Government has shied away from the hard work of restructuring how power prices are set in Tasmania, and opted instead for a short pre-election sweetener for households and businesses. This is just tinkering around the edges, and will only last a year.

The Liberals are still to deliver a real energy plan. In the lead-up to an election, they’re hoping their quick fixes will mean people will forget they’ve spent three years doing nothing to secure an affordable electricity supply.

The Bill the Liberals introduced today just caps prices for one year, and does nothing to fix overarching cost of living pressures. It simply makes things appear rosier for a government who found themselves in the midst of an Energy Crisis and did nothing.

The electricity Regulator considers the cost of Victorian electricity prices when it calculates the wholesale electricity price for Tasmanians. That was when prices were cheap, in order to constrain the monopoly position of Hydro and its potential to overcharge Tasmanians.

Given the changes in the energy market on the mainland, we need to urgently review the methodology that the independent Regulator uses in calculating the wholesale electricity component of household power bills.

The government’s legislation tabled today buys a short-term fix at the expense of the independent oversight of power prices by the Regulator.  To put real downward pressure on power prices, we need an urgent review of how the Office of the Tasmanian Economic Regulator calculates power prices.

Many Tasmanian businesses were stuck with unsustainable electricity costs because of the Energy Crisis price jump. Those businesses became the victim of the Liberals’ poor planning around energy and rash decisions to make a quick buck.

The Liberals’ plan for Hydro to forgo dividends for one year isn’t the answer for those businesses left in financial strain. It’s a temporary fix, and the false hope being given is irresponsible.

The Hodgman Government, like their Canberra colleagues, is resisting real energy policy decisions. Their only actions since taking government have been to commission feasibility studies, or conduct reviews.

Tasmanians need real leadership on energy security, not a policy to get the Hodgman Government past the next election.  They must announce a review into the way energy is priced in Tasmania, and set a target for becoming 100% secure in renewable energy generation.