At today’s Council of Australian Government meeting state leaders have agreed to support the plan to reduce Australian’s electricity bills, which over recent years have experienced considerable increases. The proposed changes will make an estimated $250 a year difference for Australian households, as well as businesses.
Prior to the agreement, NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell expressed confidence that the proposals would be approved. Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu called for greater powers and a fully independent Australian Energy Regulator. Both VIC and South Australia called for stronger regulatory powers and QLD called for a national agreement in order to curb further price increases.
The new plan will give the feral regulator increased powers, rewards for decreased energy consumption during peak periods, and call an end to over-investment on infrastructure, which many have seen as the primary driver behind the rise in electricity prices. John Brumby has been appointed chairman of the COAG reform council by PM Julia Gillard, with the deputy to be appointed by the states. Despite this agreement, Premier Barry O’Farrell brought up the fact that what is agreed upon now could be moot as soon as next federal election in 2013.