The Electrical Trades Union is calling for an independent review of the entire National Electricity Market (NEM) following the Australian Energy Market Operator’s (AEMO) unprecedented decision to take over national energy supplies.
AEMO has announced it will set administered prices for wholesale power in all regions of the market and take control of all generation plants to ensure the lights don’t go out for businesses and households.
“The ETU has been sounding the alarm about the NEM for years. This vindicates our long-held concerns that the market is broken and beyond repair,” said ETU acting national secretary Michael Wright.
“The current regulatory system fails us during the good times, with rampant profiteering and price gouging, and fails us when times are bad, as has been demonstrated today.
“It is the result of almost a decade of wilful neglect from a Coalition government.
“The experiment in synthetic markets, trying to deliver essential public services through profit motivated, tax avoiding multinational energy corporations, has failed shockingly.
“Gas and coal companies prioritising the export market is just a symptom of a problem, not the cause. The cause is complete regulatory failure.
“Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Energy Minister Chris Bowen now have a clear mandate to step in and order an urgent review of the entire national electricity market.
“Even if AEMO’s unprecedented intervention gets us through this acute phase of the crisis, we cannot return to the status quo. There is a serious question of whether the NEM should ever be allowed to resume.
“Clearly, by AEMO’s decision to take back control of Australia’s power generation, the state is the only reliable authority who should be allowed to operate such an essential public service.
“A national review must consider how to remove the dead wood of rampant financialisation and short-termism that now dominates the NEM, which is placing a huge brake on the energy sector’s capacity to improve productivity and efficiency.
“It must also consider the regulatory and policy barriers to building and maintaining a fit for purpose energy network by ensuring the full and fast implementation of the Government’s Powering Australia Policy as the only sensible roadmap out of this mess.”