Federal power plan
Prime Minister Julia Gillard has released a plan to combat the rising costs of electricity and her gaze is fixed on the poles and wires.
Blame for increases in electricity prices has been placed on over-investment in infrastructure used to ferry electricity from generation assets to homes and businesses.
Gillard plans to take her plan to the Council of Australian Governments (COAG), the highest governance body in National Electricity Market (NEM), this week. If passed through this channel, she has stated that $250 will be cut from annual domestic power bills by ending unnecessary infrastructure spending that is bundled into bills.
The plan will target returns on investments spending and energy efficiency measures including incentives for consumers to use less in critical peak periods or allowing ripple devices to be installed on appliances that enable them to be remotely disconnected. These measures will require the installation of smart meters on a national level as well as the introduction of time-of-use tariffs.
A bolstering of the powers held by the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) has also been floated. This would mean more power to police the investments of network companies whose spending is passed onto consumers in the form of network tariffs.