SA Liberals support calls for inquiry into electricity market

The State Liberals support calls to establish inquiries into South Australia’s spiraling electricity prices and the performance of the National Electricity Market.

Local industry leaders have called for an independent inquiry into the electricity market and the State Liberals believe that a Federal Government inquiry into the failures of the National Electricity Market (NEM) is needed.

South Australian Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young has indicated she hopes to establish a Senate committee to investigate claims that energy companies "unfairly gouged South Australians" during the state's recent power price spike.

However, the State Liberals want an inquiry to be a far more comprehensive assessment of the National Electricity Market including why South Australians pay so much more for electricity.

“The NEM delivers South Australian household and businesses electricity prices significantly higher than in any other state and this must be addressed,” said Shadow Minister for Energy Dan van Holst Pellekaan.

“There are market failures which unfairly disadvantage our state, but unfortunately our State Government has done nothing over the last decade to address them.”

There are five main points that need to be investigated:

  • the effectiveness of the current regulatory framework;
  • the South Australian generation mix with particular reference to the over-supply of wind energy that cannot be stored;
  • the need for more interconnection between states;
  • the beneficial impact of emerging technologies;  the overly opportunistic behavior of some energy companies.

“South Australia’s electricity prices hurt households and reduce business viability which reduces employment throughout our state,” said Mr van Holst Pellekaan.

“The Federal Parliament should conduct an open inquiry into the national market.”