Via The Australian:
Bill Shorten asks the same question, hoping repetition will prove effective.
“How much of power bills for Australia has gone up since the Liberals formed government in 2013?”
Malcolm Turnbull admits power prices have gone up since the Coalition won power, much to the delight of opposition MPs.
“They came down significantly when the Coalition came into government and the carbon tax was abolished, Turnbull says.
“We have seen them going up again recently. The reason they’ve been going up is because of the impact of decisions taken by the Labor Party.
“They can wave their arms around and shout as much as they like but it was the Labor Party that allowed gas to be exported without any protection for the domestic market.”
There you have it in black and white. Rocketing gas prices are driving rising power bills. So why is Do-nothing Malcolm attacking AGL instead of fixing the gas price?
Labor is not blameless. It did let the gas go. It didn’t have any facility to do anything else. The gas belongs to the states and QLD decided to ship it out (under Labor as well). Alas, there was no domestic reservation mechanism at the time and the Gillard Government didn’t have the cojones to take that fight on after losing a PM in the mining super profits tax coup that had just almost cost it government.
But the firms also lied. Santos just made stuff up:
As Santos worked toward approving its company-transforming Gladstone LNG project at the start of this decade, managing director David Knox made the sensible statement that he would approve one LNG train, capable of exporting the equivalent of half the east coast’s gas demand, rather than two because the venture did not yet have enough gas for the second.
“You’ve got to be absolutely confident when you sanction trains that you’ve got the full gas supply to meet your contractual obligations that you’ve signed out with the buyers,” Mr Knox told investors in August 2010 when asked why the plan was to sanction just one train first up.
“In order to do it (approve the second train) we need to have absolute confidence ourselves that we’ve got all the molecules in order to fill that second train.”
But in the months ahead, things changed. In January, 2011, the Peter Coates-chaired Santos board approved a $US16 billion plan to go ahead with two LNG trains from the beginning….as a result of the decision and a series of other factors, GLNG last quarter had to buy more than half the gas it exported from other parties.
…In hindsight, assumptions that gave Santos confidence it could find the gas to support two LNG trains, and which were gradually revealed to investors as the project progressed, look more like leaps of faith.
…When GLNG was approved as a two-train project, Mr Knox assuredly answered questions about gas reserves.
“We have plenty of gas,” he told investors. “We have the reserves we require, which is why we’ve not been participating in acquisitions in Queensland of late — we have the reserves, we’re very confident of that.”
But even then, and unbeknown to investors, Santos was planning more domestic gas purchases, from a domestic market where it had wrongly expected prices to stay low. This was revealed in August 2012, after the GLNG budget rose by $US2.5bn to $US18.5bn because, Santos said, of extra drilling and compression requirements.
Yet today we’ve got the Do-nothing Government going coal-mad to make political hay instead of forcing the gas cartel to heal to fix the real problem.
There is no avoiding sovereign risk to get out of our energy impasse. Someone has to pay.
We can put it where it belongs, on the gas cartel which carries its share of the blame, and force it to lower prices which will immediately lower power bills. Or, we can quadruple the sovereign risk by putting it where there is no economic nor national interest logic, upon AGL and other coal generators, that simply want to get out of a losing business, and we’ll never lower power bills.
Guess which one Do-nothing Malcolm has chosen?