Federal Energy Minister Angus Taylor says Australians should be outraged at AGL’s announcement of a $537 million half-yearly net profit.
AGL’s half-yearly profit is up 10 per cent from $487 million in 2018, and 138 per cent higher than 2011 figures.
“We firmly believe in competitive free enterprise that serves customers, but in the Retail Electricity Pricing Inquiry final report, the ACCC condemned current industry conduct and was scathing of the practices of the big energy companies describing them as ‘unacceptable and unsustainable,’” Mr Taylor said.
My Taylor expressed his frustration towards the fact that while big energy companies are making record profits, Australian families and businesses continue to struggle under the burden of high energy prices.
“These companies have had it too good for too long, and are desperate to protect their patch from fairer rules introduced by the Morrison Government.
“The Government introduced its ‘Big Stick’ legislation in response to the recommendations of the ACCC report. The Bill prohibits energy companies from unfairly setting retail prices, from manipulating prices in the market and from acting to prevent competition and supply in the market.”
Mr Taylor said if energy companies engage in prohibited activity, the Bill provides powers to issue fines, and to separate or sell generation assets to increase competition and prevent cartel-like behaviour.
“We make no apology for this legislation. If the market was working well, it would not be required. Instead, your bills are being held hostage to the market dominance of the big energy companies – and every Australian is wearing the cost.
“The big energy companies should hate this Bill. It is designed to force them to finally put their customers first.”
Mr Taylor also took aim at claims the current policy uncertainty in the Australian energy industry was leading to a lack of investment in the sector.
According to latest figures from the Clean Energy Regulator, over $25 billion worth of investment totalling 18.8GW is already committed in the Australian energy sector over the years 2018-2020.
The Federal Government also received a strong response to the Underwriting New Generation Investments program, with 66 submissions received during the Registration of Interest process. This will improve competition, increase supply and reduce wholesale prices.
“This response proves there is no shortage of willingness to invest in Australia’s future energy supply. The only lack of incentive is from the big energy companies, who are desperate to maintain their stranglehold on the Australian energy market. If the big energy companies won’t invest, others will.
“We are committed to protecting Australian households from high power bills and punish bad behaviour in the energy sector.”