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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 41743

Getting electricity prices down

Photo of Turnbull, Malcolm

Turnbull, Malcolm

Period of Service: 15/09/2015 to 24/08/2018

More information about Turnbull, Malcolm on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 19/08/2018

Release Type: Transcript

Transcript ID: 41743

Your electricity bill is too high and my Government is working hard to bring it down.

There’s no single reason for those higher prices and so no single solution to fix it. That’s why we’ve been taking action across the board - and with recent reductions in prices in several states, we’re starting to turn the corner.

Now, I told the big companies that if they didn't make more gas available I would impose export controls. So, more gas is now staying in Australia and as a result the wholesale price of generating electricity has fallen over the last year.

We changed the law to stop the energy companies gaming the system by constantly appealing the Energy Regulator’s decisions that was forcing prices up.

We hauled the big electricity retailers in and demanded they tell you - their customers - if you weren't weren’t on the best deal and were paying more than you should.

We encouraged Australians to go to the website to get better deal and hundreds of thousands have done so. 

But there’s more to do here.

We tasked the consumer watchdog the ACCC, to look closely at the energy retailers and what we could do to get your energy bills down. They’ve recommended there should be one standard, fair, default energy price so that as energy companies compete and offer discounts, you can easily compare it to what you’re paying.

We will set a price expectation which should be the most anyone pays. 

So, through more competition and all our other changes, that price will come down. We will demand and ensure these price savings are passed onto families and to businesses. If companies don’t pass them on, the ACCC will put them on notice.

And if the prices remain too high, we’ll implement the toughest penalties, until you’re getting value for money.

We will not hesitate to use a big stick, as we did with gas, to make sure the big companies do the right thing by you, their customers.

Now looking longer term, we want to see more investment in energy generation and more competition, again to drive down prices.

We will provide support for more competitive baseload generation, as the ACCC recommends, on a technology agnostic basis - whatever gets the job done - stepping in to ensure these projects get financed so they can go ahead.

As the ACCC chairman reminded us only this week, we have to stop subsidising one technology or another.

Let’s just focus on getting prices down.

Years of political uncertainty have contributed to higher prices and that’s why there is overwhelming support from industry and energy users for the National Energy Guarantee, the NEG. The NEG delivers reliable energy by ensuing we have enough on demand power - including coal, gas and hydro - so that over time we meet a gradual reduction in our emissions. The certainty the NEG brings will, the experts and industry confirm to us, result in lower prices for electricity.

The target in the NEG is by 2030 to reduce emissions by 26% from 2005 standards. We will meet this in a canter. As Tony Abbott said in 2015, it is a strong and responsible target, environmentally and economically responsible.

We can make the NEG work even better. I have been listening to my own team about how we can achieve that, especially how to protect you, the consumer, in the future. So we will introduce a new law that ensures that before any new emissions target is set, or changed, the energy regulators and the ACCC must advise what that means for your electricity prices. This will ensure that any government who wants to change this, has to tell you up front what the cost will be.

Now, Australians cannot afford for politicians to keep arguing about power prices any more. I know you want us to get on and fix the problem now.

I have a plan to bring your electricity prices down.

Bill Shorten only has a plan to put them up, with reckless emissions targets and even bigger subsidies, while driving traditional power plants out of business.

We need to stick to the plan. We’re starting to see the results. We need to keep doing what is needed to get your electricity prices down. That’s my commitment to you and your family.

The getting electricity prices down video is available on Facebook.

Transcript 41743