The Australian Greens will establish a new federal government agency that will lower electricity bills, save energy and cut the pollution driving global warming.
Greens Leader Senator Christine Milne said the Energy Savings Agency will make Australia’s energy system fairer, cheaper and cleaner.
“The Federal and State Governments have failed to prevent unnecessary spending on new electricity poles and wires,” Senator Milne said.
“Make no mistake, several state governments want to maximise profit from their electricity assets. Selling less electricity is not in their interest which is why reform of the energy market is too slow and why intervention is vital.
“Nearly a quarter of all our electricity bills pay for the cost of installing infrastructure that we have built to supply electricity for just 40 hours a year during peak demand periods.
“For every $100 of your electricity bill, $51 is for poles and wires and, of course, householders receive no compensation. Only $9 is due to carbon pricing and low to medium income households are compensated for that.
“For all Tony Abbott’s rhetoric about carbon pricing he can’t hide the reality that the cost of poles and wires has led to escalating power prices and it is time he and Julia Gillard got behind the Green’s scheme.
“Last year, the Prime Minister promised to end over investment in poles and wires and forecast savings of $250 a year for every Australian household, but so far she’s been all talk, no action.
“We need an independent agency to provide information, analysis, advocacy and financial support to help remove the barriers to cheaper and cleaner energy options.”
The Energy Savings Agency will have three priorities:
• Driving down power bills by achieving $1 billion in energy savings. This will be achieved by negotiating targets and providing $400 million per year for five years in incentives to urgently reduce energy demand during peak periods;
• Paying Australians fairly for the clean energy they produce – more than one million Australians have installed solar panels on their homes and businesses and they deserve a fair price for the electricity they produce. The Energy Savings Agency will recommend minimum fair prices that electricity retailers will be compelled to pay..
• Designing a National Energy Efficiency Scheme, expanding three state-based schemes to save energy and money at home and at work.
Senator Milne said the proposal has been costed by the Parliamentary Budget Office and will cost $405 million to run each year.
“This is a major investment in Australia’s clean, green future,” Senator Milne said.
“The Greens care about people and the environment which is why we need the Energy Savings Agency to help ease the pressure on Australians, reduce the pollution that is driving global warming and ensure Australians get a decent price for investing in solar energy.
“The Greens are the only party that is coming up with innovative ideas to help Australians live a fairer, cheaper and cleaner future.”