Labor warns of power price hikes after Energy Guarantee scrapped

Burying the National Energy Guarantee will hike up power prices by hundreds of dollars, the Labor party has warned.

File: Mark Butler, Shadow Minister for Climate Change and Energy.

File: Mark Butler, Shadow Minister for Climate Change and Energy. Source: AAP

Power prices will rise by hundreds of dollars as a direct result of the federal government scrapping its energy plan, the Labor opposition has warned.

The government claimed its flagship National Energy Guarantee would see electricity prices drop by $550.

But Prime Minister Scott Morrison has disowned the "dead and buried" policy after it proved unpalatable to some of his conservative colleagues.


Labor energy spokesman Mark Butler expects the failure to implement the plan will drive up prices by almost $300 for Australian households because of a complete lack of investor certainty or investment.

"So that's the price, really, for Australian households of Scott Morrison's weak, abject surrender to Tony Abbott, prices continuing to skyrocket," he told the ABC on Monday.

Mr Butler said Labor had been open to working with the government on energy policy for at least two or three years, but Mr Abbott and a group of "right-wing ideologues" within the coalition had sabotaged their efforts.

"I think that means some very bad things for Australia's energy system and prices continuing to rise for households and businesses," he said.

Australian businesses are hungry for a long-term, bipartisan plan for meeting the nation's energy needs, according to a major lobby group.

Energy spokesman Mark Butler (AAP)
Source: AAP

The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry has applauded Scott Morrison's government for its focus in the past two weeks on dropping power prices and improving reliability.

But it is still pushing for a national climate policy to ensure certainty for businesses who want to invest.

"The investments that have to be made are investments which will be in the long run," ACCI chief executive James Pearson told AAP.

"They won't be measured in weeks, or months, or even in the three years of the political cycle."

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The Ai Group also stressed the importance of investment certainty and tackling emissions in whatever policy succeeds the NEG.

"Without the emissions component, to reduce uncertainty, its costs may be higher and state agreement may be harder to achieve," Ai Group chief executive Innes Willox told AAP.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg says the government has a track record for bringing down emissions, but has stressed reducing power costs was more important.

"The people of Australia want to see their power bills come down, and they want to see the government take whatever measure possible to do that," he said.

Mr Pearson said both elements are important, as is reliability.

"Now that the NEG has been declared dead, it's important that the government sooner rather than later tells the community what will replace it."

Published 10 September 2018 at 7:40am, updated 10 September 2018 at 8:01am