Power price fibs Media Release

Aug 12, 2010 - 11:30am

As the ten day election countdown begins and cost of living pressures feature, neither major party has produced policies to help end the uncertainty on electricity prices which is fuelling higher home power bills, let alone credible policies on pollution and climate change, The Climate Institute said today as it released a new report on electricity prices.

Instead, false and misleading claims are being made about the impact on prices, especially household electricity prices, of action to address pollution and climate change.

“The fact is the electricity prices are set to rise over the coming decades primarily because of the need to spend on existing and new infrastructure – poles and wires,” said John Connor, CEO of The Climate Institute.

“Lack of climate policy certainty from both major parties is making an existing problem worse.

“Uncertainty in climate policy will cause electricity prices to rise by as much as 13% by 2020. This will cost the economy, for no social or economic benefit, up to $2 billion in 2020.”

In its report Electricity Prices – the Facts The Climate Institute says that action on pollution and climate change does not need to come at the expense of energy affordability.

“Strong energy efficiency policies could deliver financial savings to households and businesses worth $5 billion by 2020,” Mr Connor said.

“As yet neither major party has announced energy efficiency policies that could help people manage their bills.”

Work by the CSIRO has shown that even with strong action on climate change, overall energy affordability for Australian households is expected to improve over the coming decades.

The fact sheet points out that both major parties have recently twice supported renewable energy legislation, critical for a clean energy future, but which increase power prices.

“It’s hypocritical and or short sighted to be running scare campaigns on prices as the Coalition are, or to be unwilling to lead the way as the Government appears to be.

“Time is running out for both major parties to answer industry and community concerns about the impact of policy uncertainty on energy investment decisions, for bolder energy efficiency policies or to improve their overall plans on pollution and climate change.

“For either party to have a credible plan on pollution and climate change, they need put a limit and a price tag on pollution to make businesses take responsibility for their pollution and to make clean energy cheaper,” he said.

There has been no move on The Climate Institute’s Pollute-O-Meter for either party or on their Star Rating for two weeks.  On the quantitative Pollute-O-Meter both major party policies witness ballooning pollution to 2020 and the ALP and Coalition attain one and a half versus half a star rating out of five, respectively. The Greens have four stars out five.

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