Nick McKim MP
Greens Leader

Kim Booth MP
Greens Energy Spokesperson

The Tasmanian Greens today announced their response to the recommendations of the independent Electricity Supply Industry Expert Panel established by the Parliament in response to a Greens’ initiative.

Greens Leader Nick McKim said the policy delivered a transition to a modern, high-tech, low carbon economy, energy security, and the lowest possible power prices for domestic and business consumers.

Mr McKim said the Greens’ position included support for full retail contestability, the establishing of wholesale trading rooms within Hydro Tasmania and retaining Hydro Tasmania and the Tamar Valley Power Station in public ownership.

“Reforming the state’s energy sector is one of the most important decisions facing this Parliament, and history will judge us on whether we got it right,” Mr McKim said.

“That’s why the Greens have spent considerable time and energy developing a position that will deliver increased competition and promote transparency in both wholesale and retail markets.”

“The Greens want to see significant investment into a smart grid to leverage Tasmania’s NBN advantage, to empower consumers, and prepare our grid for 21st Century energy solutions.”

“A smart grid would basically overlay available technologies onto the existing grid to allow better demand and peak load management, and encourage renewable and distributed generation.”

“The Greens approach is about finding the best long term solution for energy consumers in Tasmania, not what might be politically expedient in the short term.”

“It was the Greens who pushed for this Energy Expert Panel to be established in order to inform decisions on the way forward for our energy sector and we believe it’s fulfilled its role.”

“Our reforms are a package which we believe should be implemented in full.”

“Ultimately the Parliament will make the final decision on energy reform, and the Greens stand ready to negotiate with Labor and Liberal to deliver the best outcome for the state,” said Mr McKim.

Greens Energy spokesperson Kim Booth MP said the proposal for trading rooms within Hydro Tasmania would create a fully competitive market delivering the cheapest possible power prices to Tasmania and breaking up Hydro Tasmania’s monopoly power.

“The Greens’ position represents a fundamental shift in the way power prices are set in Tasmania, moving from a regulated model to a market-based model delivering greater competition at both the retail and wholesale levels,” Mr Booth said.

“We are proposing the biggest reform in the Tasmanian electricity sector since the dams were built, which will have a long term benefit across the economy with lower energy prices to both business and domestic customers.”

“It could come as a surprise to some people that the Greens have the most pro-competition energy policy of all three political parties, but for us it’s about finding solutions based on sound evidence not political expedience.”

“About 40 per cent of an electricity bill is for the wholesale price of the power, and about 5 per cent is the retail price.”

“Unless you address wholesale competition, you’re just tinkering around the edges.”

“Our proposal for a trading rooms to be introduced into Hydro Tasmania subject to a cost benefit analysis, would lead to meaningful wholesale competition, not just retail competition, in order to bring prices down.”

“The Greens have chosen not to back the proposal to establish three separate gentraders, because of the prohibitive cost and concerns that it could lead to privatisation of Hydro Tasmania.”

Mr Booth also noted the recent comments by the Prime Minister about the need for urgent reform of the National Electricity Market to avoid further unnecessary increases in electricity bills.

“The Prime Minister has indicated that she has written to state Premiers asking for the advice from a range of ongoing NEM reviews to be drawn together and on the table for First Ministers to consider, and that she wants solutions on the table for COAG to adopt by the end of the year.”

Link: Tasmanian Greens MPs Reply to the Electricity Supply Industry Expert Panel

August 17, 2012