The COAG Energy Council met in Sydney to decide the fate of the policy. The Turnbull Government says the NEG is needed to reduce power bills and stabilise the electricity market.
Ministers agreed to the release of the exposure draft of the National Electricity Law amendments that would implement the NEG following confirmation at a Council teleconference on August 14.
Party room to ensure National Energy Guarantee approved
Minsters noted that prior to this teleconference, ministers will be provided with the draft Commonwealth legislation after it has been endorsed by the Coalition party room.
The announcement follows strenuous lobbying by Federal Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg. The Minister has faced NEG opposition both from the Greens and his own Coalition members.
The Labor states have made it clear that the NEG’s emissions target of 26 per cent needs to be revised upwards at some point. The Coalition is insisting that this revision be through federal legislation, rather than a regulator.
There is some concern that the NEG will slow down solar installations because it does not have a high emissions target.
ACCC recommendations considered
Ministers also agreed a set of recommendations from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s Retail Electricity Pricing Inquiry Report which will deliver real benefits for consumers.
Rod Sims, Chair of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, briefed Council on the ACCC’s Retail Electricity Pricing Inquiry.
Sims also updated Council on the ACCC’s Gas Inquiry 2017-2020. Council welcomed the ACCC’s Retail Electricity Pricing Inquiry final report, which was publicly released on July 11.
The report recommends action on a broad range of fronts falling across state and territory, Commonwealth and cross-jurisdictional issues.
Ministers agreed to act quickly by progressing an initial set of 16 cross-jurisdictional recommendations from the Report. These include recommendations to reduce the time it takes for consumers to switch retailers.