It’s game on, not game over

ENA CEO John Bradley
ENA CEO John Bradley

Claims Australia’s gas consumption will collapse in the next 10 years are wildly premature, the Energy Networks Association (ENA) has said.

The Melbourne Energy Institute (MEI) has claimed higher wholesale gas prices and more competitive reverse cycle airconditioning would see Eastern Australian gas consumption halve in 10 years.

However, ENA CEO John Bradley said gas has always competed as a fuel of choice and Australia should not lose sight of the benefits of dual fuel energy networks. “Consumers will consider a range of factors including what kind of home they have, their appliance mix, cost effectiveness, environmental performance, amenity and cooking preferences,” Mr Bradley said. “Gas is very price competitive – in the
case of Victorian customers, the Australian Technology Association notes it remains about a quarter of the price of electricity on an equivalent energy basis.

“For households that have adopted solar to reduce emissions, gas plays an important role when the sun is not shining, by avoiding 85 per cent of the greenhouse gas emissions from electricity use.”

Although wholesale gas prices were increasing, Mr Bradley said they are only 20-25 per cent of a typical residential bill and are being offset in many places by falling network charges.

“An 11 per cent reduction in network charges for South Australian residential customers is currently proposed and a 34 per cent reduction in network charges has been delivered for New South Wales customers,” he said.

Mr Bradley said a more balanced approach was needed than the MEI report, which had been funded by opponents of coal seam gas development.

“The report also recommends a widespread, increased use of airconditioning without assessing the impacts on electricity peak demand, which is the major driver of network costs,” he said.