Push to cut power cost

By Country News

The energy regulator and competition watchdog will get a $51million funding boost to ensure lower power bills for Australian households and small businesses.

The Federal Government will give the Australian Energy Regulator an extra $23million over five years to create a reference bill and default market offer for electricity.

Ongoing funding will also be available for the AER to regularly update the bill and market offer, and federal Energy Minister Angus Taylor wants it to be finalised by April 30 next year.

An additional $28million over seven years will be injected into the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, to monitor electricity prices and deal with energy company misconduct.

The agency’s first report is due by March 31 next year ahead of a report every six months until 2025.

The funding boost comes as the Federal Government on Friday will direct the corporation to prioritise investments that support more reliable 24/7 power.

Renewable energy projects will have to prove they can be reliable all day, every day under a new directive for the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.

It effectively means proposals for projects such as wind and solar farms would have to show they could deliver reliable electricity even when the wind did not blow or the sun was not shining.

The Federal Government has also announced taxpayer money could go towards upgrading existing coal-fired power plants to try to reduce power bills.

Registrations of interest for the government’s underwriting plan opened on Thursday, giving the industry a six-week window to apply so a shortlist can be decided early next year.

The program will offer financial support for new projects as well as existing facilities, over various stages until 2023.