PM’s big stick to be stuck in Senate

Original article by Greg Bright
The Australian – Page: 6 : 7-Dec-18

The Senate’s standing committee on economics will examine the federal government’s bill to force electricity retailers to divest assets after Labor referred it to the upper house. The lower house debated the bill on 6 December, before parliament rose for the year, but further debate will not be possible until early April as the committee is not slated to report on the bill until 18 March. Shadow treasurer Chris Bowen has accused the government of trying to push the bill through the lower house with no scrutiny and minimal debate.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET, AUSTRALIA. SENATE STANDING COMMITTEE ON ECONOMICS

Divestment powers put on fast track

Original article by Phillip Coorey
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 4 : 6-Dec-18

Australia Energy Council CEO Sarah McNamara has flagged a possible legal challenge to the federal government’s legislation to force the divestment of energy assets. McNamara says there is still uncertainty regarding the constitutional validity of the bill, despite a compromise which will require the Federal Court to approve any application for asset sales. The bill is expected to be passed by the lower house after four crossbenchers backed a motion for it to be debated and voted upon before parliament rises for the year.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN ENERGY COUNCIL, FEDERAL COURT OF AUSTRALIA, ORIGIN ENERGY LIMITED – ASX ORG, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET, AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY

Morrison’s energy big stick cut down to size

Original article by Ben Packham
The Australian – Page: 4 : 5-Dec-18

The federal government has agreed to a compromise on its proposal to intervene in the electricity market. Following a Coalition joint partyroom meeting, the government has advised that the Federal Court will be required to approve any application for the divestment of energy assets if a power company is found to have manipulated electricity prices. Shadow treasurer Chris Bowen says the policy would deter investment in the energy sector and have no impact on electricity prices. Several Liberal backbenchers have also expressed concern about the policy.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, LIBERAL PARTY OF AUSTRALIA, FEDERAL COURT OF AUSTRALIA, AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION AND CONSUMER COMMISSION, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE TREASURY, AUSTRALIAN ENERGY COUNCIL

Strategy will shut four coal plants

Original article by Matthew Denholm
The Australian – Page: 6 : 23-Nov-18

Minerals Council of Australia CEO Tania Constable says Labor must explain how it will guarantee a reliable base-load power supply under its policy of a renewable energy target of 50 per cent by 2030. She has warned that the policy could force four coal-fired power stations in Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia and Queensland to be shut down well before the 2030 target date, in addition to the Liddell plant in NSW. She adds that this would result in a big rise in electricity prices.

CORPORATES
MINERALS COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA, CONSTRUCTION, FORESTRY, MARITIME, MINING AND ENERGY UNION OF AUSTRALIA, ELECTRICAL TRADES UNION

Network CEOs strike back on power prices

Original article by Angela Macdonald-Smith
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 17 : 7-Nov-18

Energy Minister Angus Taylor will meet with the CEOs of power retailers on 7 November, where he will give them until 1 January to begin reducing electricity prices. Meanwhile, the CEOs of electricity network operators argue that regulated network costs have been cut significantly. TransGrid CEO Paul Italiano says its costs now comprise only 3.4 per cent of the average household electricity bill in New South Wales. Electricity retailers in turn argue that network charges, renewable energy subsidies and wholesale tariffs are the major contributors to high electricity bills.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE ENVIRONMENT AND ENERGY, TRANSGRID, AUSGRID PTY LTD, ORIGIN ENERGY LIMITED – ASX ORG, AGL ENERGY LIMITED – ASX AGL, ENERGYAUSTRALIA PTY LTD, ENDEAVOUR ENERGY LIMITED, AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION AND CONSUMER COMMISSION

AGL could face savage hit to earnings

Original article by Angela Macdonald-Smith
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 6 : 25-Oct-18

Morgan Stanley estimates that the federal government’s proposed measures to reduce electricity prices could potentially slash the 2020 EBITDA of AGL Energy and Origin Energy by up to $361m and $426m respectively. Matthew Blumberg of Hayberry Global Fund adds that government intervention in the electricity sector could in fact result in reduced competition and enable the major players to increase their market share.

CORPORATES
MORGAN STANLEY AUSTRALIA LIMITED, AGL ENERGY LIMITED – ASX AGL, ORIGIN ENERGY LIMITED – ASX ORG, HAYBERRY GLOBAL FUND, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE ENVIRONMENT AND ENERGY, ENERGYAUSTRALIA PTY LTD, CLP HOLDINGS LIMITED, CITIGROUP INCORPORATED, AUSTRALIAN ENERGY REGULATOR

Cut power bills by new year or else

Original article by Phillip Coorey
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 1 & 4 : 24-Oct-18

The Business Council of Australia has warned that some of the federal government’s proposed measures to put downward pressure on electricity prices could create investment uncertainty. Amongst other things, energy retailers will be required to offer default price contracts from mid-2019, while energy companies could be forced to divest assets if they fail to take sufficient action. The government also proposes to underwrite investment in new reliable energy sources. Prime Minister Scott Morrison says reducing electricity prices and cutting carbon emissions are not mutually exclusive.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET, BUSINESS COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA, AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, AUSTRALIAN ENERGY COUNCIL, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE ENVIRONMENT AND ENERGY, VICTORIA. DEPT OF ENVIRONMENT, LAND, WATER AND PLANNING, AUSTRALIAN ENERGY REGULATOR, AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION AND CONSUMER COMMISSION

Morrison in bid for unity on energy

Original article by Joe Kelly, Ben Packham
The Australian – Page: 1 & 6 : 23-Oct-18

The federal government will establish a price benchmark for electricity retailers, which was a key recommendation of the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission’s review of electricity prices. The "default market offer" rate will take effect from mid-2019, and is part of the government’s commitment to reducing power bills. Meanwhile, National Party MP Keith Pitt rejects suggestions that the Coalition’s climate change policy was the main cause of its poor performance in the Wentworth by-election.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION AND CONSUMER COMMISSION, NATIONAL PARTY OF AUSTRALIA, LIBERAL PARTY OF AUSTRALIA, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE ENVIRONMENT AND ENERGY, AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, AUSTRALIA. OFFICE OF THE CHIEF SCIENTIST, AUSTRALIAN ENERGY REGULATOR, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF INDUSTRY, INNOVATION AND SCIENCE

Greens call for government energy retailer

Original article by Andrew Tillett
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 9 : 26-Sep-18

The Australian Greens will propose increased government intervention in the electricity market to put downward pressure on prices, including the creation of a publicly-owned electricity retailer. Greens leader Richard Di Natale estimates that a taxpayer-funded electricity retailer could be established at cost of just $85m, while using it could save consumers around $200 a year on power costs. Di Natale will also advocate greater government intervention in other sectors in a National Press Club speech on 26 September.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN GREENS, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE ENVIRONMENT AND ENERGY, NATIONAL PRESS CLUB (AUSTRALIA), SNOWY HYDRO LIMITED, RED ENERGY PTY LTD, LUMO ENERGY AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION AND CONSUMER COMMISSION

Power price fix will leave customers worse off

Original article by Angela Macdonald-Smith
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 1 & 2 : 5-Sep-18

The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission recommended in July that a default retail power price be introduced. Its proposal, which would see the adoption of a retail price that would be capped by the Australian Energy Regulator, was recently endorsed by the federal government. However, EnergyAustralia CEO Catherine Tanna is understood to have told New South Wales Energy Minister Don Harwin that 70 per cent of its customers would be worse off if the ACCC’s recommendation was adopted.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION AND CONSUMER COMMISSION, AUSTRALIAN ENERGY REGULATOR, ENERGYAUSTRALIA PTY LTD, NEW SOUTH WALES. DEPT OF ENERGY, CLP HOLDINGS LIMITED, SANTOS LIMITED – ASX STO, ORIGIN ENERGY LIMITED – ASX ORG, AGL ENERGY LIMITED – ASX AGL