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Media release

Energy Consumers Australia welcomes further action on system security challenges

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Energy Consumers Australia

Energy Consumers Australia has welcomed the Turnbull Government’s leadership to secure gas supplies through industry initiatives and its plan to increase the generation of the Snowy Hydro scheme by 50 per cent, adding 2000 megawatts of renewable energy to the National Electricity Market and addressing energy security concerns.

Rosemary Sinclair, Energy Consumers Australia CEO, said the strong focus on downward pressure on prices is key to consumer confidence.

“The announcements by the Prime Minister, as well as those by the South Australian, Victorian and New South Wales governments in recent weeks, will help restore consumers’ confidence in the National Energy Market.” 1)The South Australian Government announced a six-point energy security package on 14 March 2017 – further details available at http://ourenergyplan.sa.gov.au/. The Victorian Government announced $20 million for large-scale energy storage and a new Energy Security Taskforce of Cabinet on 14 March 2017 – see media statement at http://www.premier.vic.gov.au/large-scale-energy-storage-an-investment-in-jobs-reliability-and-affordability/ . The New South Wales Government has established an Energy Security Taskforce, chaired by the NSW Chief Scientist Professor Mary O’Kane AC, on 21 February 2017. http://www.chiefscientist.nsw.gov.au/reports/nsw-energy-security-taskforce. Ms Sinclair said.

“The initiatives announced by the Prime Minister in the last two days respond to the energy cost and security issues households and small businesses have been experiencing.”

“The Prime Minister has sent a very strong message to the gas industry that it needs to step up and address serious price and supply challenges households and small businesses are facing.” Ms Sinclair said.

Ms Sinclair said it was important that planning for the ambitious pumped-hydro feasibility study announced by the Prime Minister today was informed by the blueprint for “NEM 2.0” being developed by the Finkel Review.

“We need to make sure the detailed design and implementation of system security responses start with consumer expectations and experiences,” said Ms Sinclair.

“Electricity prices have more than doubled in recent years and this has left consumers across the country with real questions about whether they’re receiving value for money.”

“Consumers are telling us that they value cost and control, which is why they are investing their own resources in solar and battery storage technologies”

“Ensuring we address system security challenges at least cost is critical.”

Ms Sinclair said that policy makers needed to work towards a national energy system that is secure and reliable, that balances a fleet of lowest cost, low emissions generation technologies with large-scale storage and local loads supported by dynamic ‘smart’ control.

“It also means a market that allows consumers to participate in new energy services and unlocks the benefits of the sharing economy, harnessing smart technology and better information and tools.”

“It is critical that we take everyone with us as we transition – this means ensuring the consumer protection framework keeps us with the changing market and we have a safety net that works.”

Ms Sinclair said that the Commonwealth and the states have taken positive steps reflecting the different roles they play in the National Energy Market and encouraged both levels of government to coordinate this vital work to secure reliable energy at the right price for households and small businesses.

“We look forward to the Commonwealth and states working together to implement the Finkel Review blueprint for NEM 2.0.” Ms Sinclair said.

Media Contact: Marie Bout, 0405 399 164

References   [ + ]

1. The South Australian Government announced a six-point energy security package on 14 March 2017 – further details available at http://ourenergyplan.sa.gov.au/. The Victorian Government announced $20 million for large-scale energy storage and a new Energy Security Taskforce of Cabinet on 14 March 2017 – see media statement at http://www.premier.vic.gov.au/large-scale-energy-storage-an-investment-in-jobs-reliability-and-affordability/ . The New South Wales Government has established an Energy Security Taskforce, chaired by the NSW Chief Scientist Professor Mary O’Kane AC, on 21 February 2017. http://www.chiefscientist.nsw.gov.au/reports/nsw-energy-security-taskforce.