Labor stands by election pledge to tame soaring electricity prices

Energy transmission is holding up Australia reaching its renewable energy targets.

Energy transmission is holding up Australia reaching its renewable energy targets. Photo: AAP

The Labor government is standing by the modelling it took to the May federal election promising to slash electricity bills by $275 a year.

The renewed pledge came after a week of turmoil in the energy market, which forced the key regulator – the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) – to take over the power grid to guarantee supply.

“We stand by the modelling that was there that the impact of what we will do, particularly through transmission that allows you to get cheaper energy on to the grid,” Labor frontbencher Tony Burke told Sky News’ Sunday Agenda program.

“Renewables are the cheapest form of energy but if you want to get your renewables and your battery storage onto the grid you need to improve transmission.”

Shadow treasurer and former energy minister Angus Taylor was also asked on Sky News whether he took any responsibility for what occurred in the energy market last week.

“Supply is the answer, it is not coming in and (it’s) crushing the markets,” Mr Taylor replied.

Asked if he would have backed the actions of AEMO if he was still the energy minister, Mr Taylor said: “I would have focused on getting more supply into the market.”

‘No responsibility taken’

Mr Burke thought it was an “extraordinary interview”.

“There was no responsibility taken for anything. No sense of ownership of what we have in the energy market right now,” he said.

Opposition Leader Peter Dutton weighed in, saying Australia would have been in a dire situation over the last few years if Labor had been in government.

“The regulators, if they are saying the (energy) companies have gamed this, do you not think the companies were trying to game it when Angus Taylor was the minister in this space?” he told ABC’s Insiders program.

“Of course they were, but he was able to do it and keep the lights on.”

He said Labor would have turned off coal years ago and Energy Minister Chris Bowen still wants to exclude gas and coal.

“The sense of panic from Chris Bowen that is out there at the moment wasn’t there when the coalition was in government,” he said.

“I think he is a bunny in the headlights. I think (Resources Minister) Madeleine King has had more common sense over the past week but she is speaking at odds with Chris Bowen. The government is trying to speak out of both sides of its mouth.”


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