Power price relief won’t flow through till mid 2023

Controversial energy relief package passes parliament

Australians can expect to pay about $230 less than they would have for power next year after federal parliament passed sweeping measures to address the energy crisis.

But the power price relief won’t be felt until midway through next year because the new laws are not expected to impact the market price of gas and coal for months.

The new laws cap gas at $12 a gigajoule, introduce a mandatory code of conduct for the gas market, and roll out power bill support for welfare recipients.

Power bills are still expected to rise, but the measures aim to take some of the sting out for households and businesses.

The Greens and the cross bench voted with the government to pass the laws through parliament before Christmas.

In exchange for their support, the Greens secured a commitment from the government to provide help in the next budget for households and businesses transitioning from gas to electricity.

The proposal is expected to target low- and middle-income earners, as well as public housing residents.

The Coalition voted against the laws. Opposition Leader Peter Dutton said he backed relief measures, but did not want market intervention.

Shadow treasurer Angus Taylor said the government’s plan was “diabolical” and would not help families with high energy bills.

“Experts are loudly warning that gas price-fixing will result in 19 years of gas supply being commercially stranded and will increase the risk of blackouts in 2023,” he said.

“It simply beggars belief the government would ignore these warnings and risk severely curtailing supply in coming years.”

Energy operators were quick to add their concerns to the government’s intervention.

But Australian Energy Regulator chair Clare Savage said energy contracts for next financial year were already heading in the right direction, easing fears that prices were set to skyrocket.

She said government modelling showed prices would be $230 less than what had been expected if there was no intervention.

The peak body representing workers urged people to take note of the “doom-laden predictions” of the gas industry and opposition so they could be contrasted with reality.

Australian Workers Union national secretary Daniel Walton said multinational energy exporters that were “hyperventilating” over the changes would continue to make massive profits.

“Here’s my prediction for what will happen as a result of this apparently terrifying new legislation,” he said.

“The price of gas and coal will fall, consumers will feel relief and the manufacturing industry will gain the confidence to keep operating and investing in Australia.”

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