Anthony Albanese warns power companies to prioritise customers over profits as he blames the energy crisis on Scott Morrison’s government
- Anthony Albanese warns power companies to prioritise customers over profits
- Comes as providers withdraw from the market instead of meeting shortages
- Mr Albanese blamed energy crisis on Scott Morrison’s government
His warning comes as energy providers opted to withdraw from the market instead of meeting shortages, with concerns others are holding back power to exploit prices.
‘My message to the energy companies is that they have a responsibility to their customers, whether they be households or businesses, to do the right thing,’ he said,’ he said.
‘If they’re not doing the right thing, the regulator will take appropriate action.’
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese (pictured) said shortfalls have shown the weaknesses in the system after the Australian Energy Market Operator suspended the spot market on Wednesday
The Prime Minister said that the government would monitor the situation carefully as the energy crisis continued to unfold.
‘There are weaknesses, clearly, that have been exposed, and all of the lessons of what is happening will be examined,’ Mr Albanese said.
‘My government and Chris Bowen as the (energy) minister will act in a considered, sober way to make sure that as we go into the future, anything that can be learnt from what has happened this week will be.’
The Prime Minister blamed the previous coalition government for the current shortfalls.
‘What we’ve seen is a failure of policy that has led to a market failure and that is why AEMO has stepped in here. There were vulnerabilities that have been exposed,’ he said.
‘This is what happens when you don’t have investment certainty, when you don’t have the transmission grid fit for purpose,’ Mr Albanese said.
‘A decade of the former government meant a decade of lost opportunity of investment that didn’t happen. We have an energy grid that wasn’t made fit for purpose for the 21st century.’
His comments come after The Australian Energy Market Operator suspended the electricity spot market in NSW, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and Victoria until further notice.
It has also taken full control of directing supplies from energy generators to the east coast power grid, and is setting prices for every state in the market until further notice.
AEMO is expecting to have enough power in the system to avoid blackouts, but NSW will suffer another pressure point on Thursday night.
NSW residents being asked to reduce non-essential usage from 6-8pm.
Pressure on the grid is expected to ease from Friday and through the weekend as more power units come back online.
AEMO has issued a level three lack of reserve notice in NSW, meaning conditions exist where energy demand is outstripping supply and controlled load-shedding will be used as a last resort.
NSW is expected to pull through Thursday night, while grid pressures in Victoria and Queensland remain in better shape.
NSW Energy Minister Matt Kean says he remains cautiously optimistic, with a major generator coming back online on Thursday night.
‘Supply conditions will ease,’ Mr Kean told reporters on Thursday.
‘At this stage, we have confidence there’s enough reserve capacity in the system to ensure that we don’t have to ask people to be considerate of their options tonight.’
Federal Energy Minister Chris Bowen says the AEMO taking control of the market has provided the best chance of it functioning properly for consumers.
‘It means that the operator is effectively determining the best way for Australia’s energy to be generated and paid for and provided to consumers while the market simply wasn’t functioning,’ Mr Bowen told reporters on Thursday.
Mr Bowen says while the government is working on short-, medium- and long-term solutions to strengthen the grid and reduce energy prices, an under-investment in infrastructure has made the market susceptible to pressure points.
‘The problem is there is not enough investment in renewable energy. There hasn’t been enough investment in storage,’ he said.
‘Yes, you can say the wind doesn’t always blow and the sun doesn’t always shine. The rain doesn’t always fall either, but we can store the water, and we can store renewable energy if we have the investment.’
A higher usage of electricity during winter, generators being offline and international factors such as Russia’s war with Ukraine have resulted in a shortfall of supply
The spot market was suspended in NSW, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and Victoria until further notice. AEMO has taken control of directing supplies from generators to the east coast and set prices for every state
While the market regulator has been tasked by the government to establish gas reserves to help avoid future supply constraints, Mr Bowen was less committal when asked about coal reserves as Europe seeks to increase its imports, with an embargo on Russian coal coming into effect in August.
Asked about the measure to avoid future energy supply constraints, Mr Bowen said there is currently no legislative or legal basis through which the government can force exporters to stockpile domestic reserves.
‘At the moment, we are dealing with pressures because of coal-fired power outages,’ he said.
‘The coal market itself has been tight, but it hasn’t been caused by coal shortages.’
Opposition Leader Peter Dutton said Labor was rushing into putting renewables into the system.
‘You can’t firm up renewable energy the way in which people would want to at the moment,’ he said on 2GB radio.
‘Labor at the moment is rushing towards the new system, when frankly it’s not at a sensible pace.’
The crisis in New South Wales even forced Sydney hospitals to resort to stringent methods to conserve energy after being warned about possible blackouts.
In an email reportedly seen by The Daily Telegraph, Sydney hospitals were instructed on different ways to save power in the hope to reduce the likelihood of an outage.
Staff in Sydney hospitals were told to turn down the air conditioning temperature to below 20C, close windows and turn off any unused equipment and lights.
Anthony Albanese said on Wednesday energy generators have a ‘responsibility’ to consumers and need to meet their obligations amidst Australia’s energy crisis
The email read: ‘Please activate the above measures immediately and we will advise you when these measures can be deactivated. It is likely this protocols will stay in place until 23:59 on Friday 17 June.’