3 April 2014

Consumers to benefit from lower energy prices when carbon tax repealed


with the Hon Greg Hunt MP
Minister for the Environment
Federal Member for Flinders

This media release discusses the confirmation today that the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) will use its discretion and allow retailers to lower prices immediately.

Energy companies will be able to lower prices without delay once the carbon tax is repealed – delivering significant savings for Australian households and business.

The Australian Energy Regulator (AER) today confirmed that it will use its discretion and allow retailers to lower prices straight away.

“Power bills will fall as soon as Bill Shorten and the Labor Party stop blocking the abolition of the carbon tax,” Minister for Small Business Bruce Billson said.

“The AER’s decision is good news for anyone who pays a power bill as they will see their bills drop when the carbon tax is repealed.

“The Coalition Government is committed to delivering lower energy bills for Australian households and businesses. Bill Shorten and Labor continue to support the carbon tax and higher electricity bills for households and business.”

Today the AER has made it clear it will not take action against an energy retailer for breaches of the National Energy Retail Law in circumstances where retailers are charging lower prices to reflect savings from the repeal of the carbon tax.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) are currently monitoring prices to form a baseline to ensure that businesses and households benefit from the carbon tax repeal.

ACCC Chairman Rod Sims has stated categorically that “what went up will clearly come down when you take away the carbon tax.”

“The only person standing in the way of lower electricity prices is Bill Shorten,” Minister for the Environment Greg Hunt said.

“Before the last election Labor said they’d scrap the carbon tax. Then they voted in Parliament to keep the carbon tax. Now they want to expand the carbon tax.”

Scrapping the carbon tax will take the pressure off electricity and gas prices. Power bills are forecast to be around 9 per cent lower and gas prices would be around 7 per cent lower than they otherwise would be.

Overall, households are forecast to be around $550 a year better off, on average, without the carbon tax.

There should be no doubt about the Government’s determination to get rid of the carbon tax. Labor on the other hand remains determined to keep and expand this painful and pointless slug on households and business.

Previously, there were some suggestions that energy retailers would not be able to pass through savings from the repeal of the carbon tax because they have to set prices in advance. Today’s AER decision has put to rest these claims.