Aussies’ fears over rising power bills

That is the finding of a Reachtel survey released today as the Turnbull government battles to save its National Energy Guarantee (NEG) from internal and outside opposition.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg are heading for a NEG showdown with states on Friday, and then one with their own colleagues when Parliament resumes the following week.

And it comes as frustrated industry leaders increase pressure on the Government to provide certainty by overcoming that opposition, including criticism from big-coal fan Tony Abbott, the former Prime Minister.

“There can be no further delays. A decade of policy uncertainty has only resulted in higher electricity prices and a less stable and reliable energy system,” key business organisations including the Australian Industry Group and Small Business Australia said in a statement today.

The Reachtel survey on July 30, commissioned by Greenpeace, found 59.7 per cent of voters believed power sources such as solar and wind generation would supply most of Australia’s electricity by 2030.

Some 44 per cent of Liberal voters agreed compared to just more than 60 per cent of voters agreed with a Reachtel statement: “The influence of coal and energy companies over politicians means that Australia has a lower percentage of renewable energy than it would otherwise.”

And just over 70 per cent agreed that “Australia should set an ambitious renewable energy target to help put downward pressure on electricity prices”.

“Australians want lower electricity prices and the way to achieve that is to get more renewables in the energy mix,” said Greenpeace Australia Pacific head of research Nikola Casule today.

“The Australian people know it and expect governments to act on it.

“Instead, Turnbull’s NEG is a policy that directly undercuts the renewable energy industry, going against both the will of the people and market realities.

“Turnbull’s pathetic NEG dis-incentivises the clean and reliable renewable energy that the public knows is bringing down prices and pollution right now.

“We already know that Turnbull’s NEG will be an environmental and economic failure — now we can add politically disastrous to its growing list of unflattering adjectives.”

The seven industry groups also included the Business Council, the Australian Energy Council, the National Farmers’ Federation, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the APPEO.

“Together our organisations represent businesses that employ millions of Australian workers. The business sector employs five out of six working Australians and contributes more than 80 per cent of economic output in this country,” said the statement.

It said: “This Friday we call on COAG Energy Council to endorse the framework of the National Energy Guarantee to provide the investor confidence needed to make the important, long-term decisions for a reliable, affordable and clean energy system.

“Now is the time to act in Australia’s national interest. Australian households and businesses cannot afford the costs of yet another cycle of political sparring, indecision and inaction.”

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