Agreement at COAG meeting
An agreement was reached at the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting today.
A plan has been agreed upon to act on the rising costs of electricity for consumers. Prime Minister Gillard has stated that the plan will address ‘gold-plating’, the alleged over-investment made to network infrastructure that is passed-through to consumers; empower the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) and incentivize demand-side energy reduction by consumers.
The AER is tasked with managing the pass-through charges of networks and monitoring the compliance of energy suppliers. Under the plan, the AER will be given an extra $23 million in funding.
The plan has bi-partisan support from all State Leaders and their representatives who are keen to act on rising prices. Although the issue of a national roll-out of smart meters met with resistance, and it was agreed that their installation outside of Victoria would be voluntary. Disagreement also surrounded the potential saving to consumers which was set at ‘250 for Australian families’ by Gillard. Other State Leaders felt that reductions to bills would be far off and rises would continue due to necessary infrastructure spending.