From Richard Giles in Queensland:
States want more details on power price plan
AM By Lexi Metherell
December 3, 2012
The states say they need more details from the Federal Government about a plan to curb power price rises.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard yesterday announced plans to stop the “gold plating” of electricity networks.
Ms Gillard wants to give more funding to the national energy regulator and set up new consumer groups to keep power prices down.
She says the package will save consumers $250 a year on their power bills.
The issue will be on the agenda at this week’s meeting of state and territory leaders.
Victorian Energy Minister Michael O’Brien says some of the proposals look worthwhile, but the industry watchdog needs more power.
“The Australian Energy Regulator is in a constant battle for resources, both financial and personnel,” he said.
New South Wales Minister Katrina Hodkinson says the states are already looking at ways of pushing power prices down.
“I think the best things they could do is abolish the green schemes and abolish the carbon tax,” she said.
Ms Gillard is pushing for the roll out of smart meters, but Queensland Energy Minister Mark McArdle is making no commitments.
“I call upon the Prime Minister to release all costings in relation to her claim as to how these prices are going to be driven down and more importantly, when prices will fall,” he said.
The Federal Coalition dismissed yesterday’s announcement as a stunt, but says the energy sector does need to be deregulated.
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