Coalition delayed electricity price news until after election

Former treasurer Josh Frydenberg speaking into press microphones (coalition)
Former treasurer Josh Frydenberg

The Coalition delayed a key electricity pricing update until after the election, according to a report in The Guardian.

The Australian Energy Regulator (AER) is required to release its so-called default market offer (DMO) on May 1 each year since the “price safety net” was introduced in July 2019.

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But the Coalition amended regulations so the new price for the coming year would be released tomorrow—five days after the federal election.

During the election campaign, Coalition leaders continued to claim that power prices were lower under their management.

In his final budget, former treasurer Josh Frydenberg said, “The government’s actions have helped reduce residential electricity costs by 8 per cent and small business costs by 10 per cent over the past two financial years.”

In reality, wholesale prices had more than doubled in the year to March and have increased further since. Generation costs typically account for about one-third of retail bills and the recent spike in spot prices will be reflected in higher charges.

The AER said the direction to change the regulation was made on March 31. The offer delay until the “first business day after 25 May [was] to provide more time for the AER to include the most recent network costs in the final price determination,” it said. 

This change, it stated, would “ensure greater accuracy in price determinations.”

A spokesperson for outgoing energy minister Angus Taylor rejected claims of a delay for political reasons.

He told The Guardian said since the DMO was established three years ago, more than 680,000 Australian families and small businesses were paying less on their electricity bills.

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“Households on standing offers are up to $778 per year better off [or] 24 per cent,” the spokesperson said.

“For small businesses, [they are] up to $3,105 per year better off or 25 per cent.”

Read the full article here.

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