Energy key to recovery, says Rio

Original article by Nick Evans
The Australian – Page: 13 & 16 : 8-May-20

Rio Tinto CEO Jean-Sebastien Jacques has told the resources group’s Australian annual meeting that its local aluminium assets are "very well run" and high power costs is their main problem. He emphasised the need for a "viable and sustainable solution" to this problem; he added that high energy prices will also be a key issue for the federal government in restarting the domestic economy in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Jacques also said it now appears to be ‘business as usual’ in China, which is Australia’s key iron ore export market.

CORPORATES
RIO TINTO LIMITED – ASX RIO, PACIFIC ALUMINIUM PTY LTD

Virus shorts electricity demand

Original article by Perry Williams
The Australian – Page: 13 & 20 : 16-Apr-20

RepuTex has forecast that demand across Australia’s national electricity market will fall by 22.5 per cent in May due to the coronavirus lockdown. The consultancy also warns that wholesale electricity spot prices could fall below $40 per megawatt hour, which in turn could result in high-cost coal-fired power stations operating at a loss. The wholesale spot price has already fallen to around $45/MWh in most states, although RepuTex says this could rise to around $60/MWh in June if lockdown restrictions begin to ease.

CORPORATES
REPUTEX AUSTRALIA PACIFIC PTY LTD

Cheaper power to lift big companies

Original article by Patrick Commins
The Australian – Page: 1 & 4 : 24-Dec-19

Analysis of data from the Australian ­Energy Market Operator shows that wholesale electricity prices in Victoria have fallen by 39 per cent year-on-year in December, and by 36 per cent in New South Wales. South Australia has recorded the smallest fall in wholesale prices, at just three per cent. Tony Wood of the Grattan Institute says electricity prices are likely to fall further in 2020 and 2021. The power costs of heavy electricity users will fall immediately, although the majority of households and small businesses are on supply contracts that are based on annual price changes.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN ENERGY MARKET OPERATOR LIMITED, GRATTAN INSTITUTE, AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION AND CONSUMER COMMISSION, AGL ELECTRICITY (VICTORIA) PTY LTD, ORIGIN ENERGY LIMITED – ASX ORG, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE ENVIRONMENT AND ENERGY, VICTORIA. ESSENTIAL SERVICES COMMISSION

High energy prices force Rio to the table

Original article by Perry Williams
The Australian – Page: 17 & 20 : 26-Nov-19

The future of Rio Tinto’s Tomago, Boyne and Bell Bay aluminium smelters in Australia remains under scrutiny amid high energy prices and weak demand for aluminium. CEO Jean-Sebastien Jacques notes that energy costs accounts for a third of the company’s cost structure, adding that energy costs in Australia are very high by global standards. He says Rio Tinto is holding talks with governments at federal and state level regarding energy costs. The future of Alcoa’s Portland smelter in Victoria is also uncertain, with a state government subsidy due to expire in 2021.

CORPORATES
RIO TINTO LIMITED – ASX RIO, ALCOA OF AUSTRALIA LIMITED, CSR LIMITED – ASX CSR, RUSAL

Denialists are to blame for high power bills: Turnbull

Original article by Troy Bramston
The Australian – Page: 1 & 2 : 8-Oct-19

Former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull says the federal government’s lack of a ‘­coherent’ national energy policy has resulted in higher electricity prices in Australia and higher greenhouse gas emissions. He has also accused the Liberal Party of having been influenced by a group that is "denialist and reactionary" on the issue of climate change. Turnbull contends that Robert Menzies regarded the Liberal Party as being ‘genuinely progressive’ rather than a ‘conventional conservative party’. He argues that the term ‘conservative’ has lost its true meaning.

CORPORATES
LIBERAL PARTY OF AUSTRALIA

Energy fix for blackouts, big bills

Original article by Angela Macdonald-Smith
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 1 & 18 : 18-Jul-19

The Australian Energy Market Commission will allow large industrial users of electricity to participate in the demand-response market directly rather than via an electricity retailer. The AEMC’s draft ruling has been welcomed by Federal Energy Minister Angus Taylor, while Australian Competition & Consumer Commission chairman Rod Sims says it will result in lower electricity prices for consumers. The AEMC will accept submissions on the draft ruling until 12 September, with a final ruling to be issued by mid-November.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN ENERGY MARKET COMMISSION, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE ENVIRONMENT AND ENERGY, AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION AND CONSUMER COMMISSION, TOTAL ENVIRONMENT CENTRE INCORPORATED, THE AUSTRALIA INSTITUTE LIMITED, THE AUSTRALIAN INDUSTRY GROUP, NATIONAL IRRIGATORS COUNCIL LIMITED, BLUESCOPE STEEL LIMITED – ASX BSL, CSR LIMITED – ASX CSR

Lower wholesale power prices a pipe dream

Original article by Mark Ludlow
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 6 : 9-Jul-19

Energy Users Association of Australia CEO Andrew Richards has questioned whether the federal government can deliver on its promise to reduce wholesale electricity prices to $70 per megawatt-hour by 2021. The wholesale price of electricity is currently around $95 per megawatt hour, and Richards says it is unlikely to fall much below $80. He adds that the federal government’s intervention in the energy market has also "spooked" some investors.

CORPORATES
ENERGY USERS ASSOCIATION OF AUSTRALIA, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE ENVIRONMENT AND ENERGY, ENERGYAUSTRALIA PTY LTD, GRATTAN INSTITUTE, AUSTRALIAN ENERGY COUNCIL

Consumers flick the switch to lower bills

Original article by Perry Williams
The Australian – Page: 2 : 28-Jun-19

One in four Australians have changed their electricity provider in the last year, according to the Australian Energy Market Commission. Electricity retailers AGL Energy, EnergyAustralia and Origin Energy no longer hold the biggest market share in South Australia and south-east Queensland, while the average median household bill ‘offer’ declined by between two and four per cent in New South Wales in the year to March, seven per cent across south-east Queensland, and up to four per cent in Victoria.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN ENERGY MARKET COMMISSION, AGL ENERGY LIMITED – ASX AGL, ORIGIN ENERGY LIMITED – ASX ORG, ENERGYAUSTRALIA PTY LTD

Cormann says power price drops on the way

Original article by Phillip Coorey
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 6 : 12-Jun-19

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann has reiterated the federal government’s commitment to reducing electricity prices by 25-30 per cent by the end of 2021. He notes that the Coalition has a range of policy initiatives aimed at achieving this goal, including its so-called "big stick" legislation and its proposal to underwrite baseload generation projects. Action to reduce power prices is among the key demands of Senate crossbenchers in return for backing the Coalition’s income tax cuts package.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF FINANCE, ONE NATION PARTY, CENTRE ALLIANCE, AUSTRALIAN CONSERVATIVES, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE ENVIRONMENT AND ENERGY, AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION AND CONSUMER COMMISSION, AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY

Big stick returns in power fight

Original article by Simon Benson
The Australian – Page: 1 & 4 : 29-May-19

Energy Minister Angus Taylor says legislation aimed at forcing power companies to reduce electricity prices will be a priority for the federal government when parliament resumes. The so-called ‘big stick’ bill was put on hold in March after being rejected by parliament, and the CEOs of major energy companies still have concerns about the proposed legislation. Taylor also says the federal government will encourage its state counterparts to take action to increase electricity and gas supply.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE ENVIRONMENT AND ENERGY, ORIGIN ENERGY LIMITED – ASX ORG, AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION AND CONSUMER COMMISSION, AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, AUSTRALIAN GREENS, NATIONAL PARTY OF AUSTRALIA, CENTRE ALLIANCE, AUSTRALIAN CONSERVATIVES, ONE NATION PARTY