Turn­bull de­mands an­swers on power

Townsville Bulletin - - NATION - MATTHEW KILLORAN

PRIME Min­is­ter Mal­colm Turn­bull has de­manded a “please ex­plain” from the bosses of the na­tion’s big­gest power com­pa­nies over price trans­parency and the coun­try’s elec­tric­ity price cri­sis.

In a let­ter to the eight ma­jor power com­pa­nies, Mr Turn­bull says Queens­lan­ders could save $ 900 a year if they were more open on their pric­ing.

The move comes as he tries to turn the po­lit­i­cal di­a­logue away from the same- sex mar­riage de­bate di­vid­ing the Coali­tion and on to is­sues im­pact­ing vot­ers’ hip- pock­ets.

The PM has called a spe­cial Lib­eral party room meet­ing on Mon­day at 4pm to head off the mar­riage de­bate be­fore Par­lia­ment re­turns on Tues­day, while the Na­tion­als are meet­ing in Rock­hamp­ton to­day.

Aus­tralian En­ergy Reg­u­la­tor fig­ures show a 55 per cent spike in house­holds in Queens­land hav­ing their power dis­con­nected in the three months to March, or 460 dis­con­nec­tions a week.

Mr Turn­bull called bosses from En­ergy Aus­tralia, Ori­gin En­ergy, AGL, Snowy Hy­dro, Mo­men­tum En­ergy, Alinta En­ergy, Sim­ply En­ergy and Aus­tralian En­ergy Coun­cil to Can­berra on Wed­nes­day.

He crit­i­cised them for lack of trans­parency, be­fore call­ing them to at­tend the sit- down with him­self, Trea­surer Scott Mor­ri­son and En­ergy Min­is­ter Josh Fry­den­berg.

“I am par­tic­u­larly con­cerned by re­ports that consumers are be­ing pushed from dis­counted mar­ket rates to higher prices stan­dard con­tracts or non- dis­counted plans of­ten with­out re­al­is­ing it,” he said.

At the start of the year, Mr Turn­bull promised to make power prices more af­ford­able.

In March, he an­nounced an ACCC power price probe, which would specif­i­cally look at elec­tric­ity re­tail­ers and seek out anti- com­pet­i­tive be­hav­iour. The re­sult of the probe is not due un­til July 1 next year.

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