Scott Morrison’s elevation to the job of prime minister after the coup against Malcolm Turnbull has not worked out quite as planned, at least on wholesale electricity prices.
Data shows that electricity jumped for the first two weeks of the Morrison administration, the dumping of the emissions targets, and his appointment of anti-wind campaigner Angus Taylor as energy minister, and forming mining lawyer and climate skeptic Melissa Price as environment minister.
About the same time, the Australian Energy Market Operator’s 10-year outlook, which pointed to greater risk of supply shortfalls this coming summer, particularly in Victoria, due to concerns about the health of ageing coal generators was also released. But this should affect futures prices (which it did), rather that the spot price.
As if in cue, however, the big Loy Yang A generator has been having the sort of problems which gives AEMO nightmares, tripping four times in the last five days, including another one in the Loy Yang 1 unit just this morning. (See graph below, also provided by Dylan McConnell of the Climate and Energy College).
As Labor’s Mark Butler points out, the jump in wholesale prices is entirely predictable, given the uncertainty over future energy policy. The Energy Security Board had predicted the NEG would lower prices by around $550 a year for households, mostly as a result of the renewable energy target, which some members of the Coalition still want to kill.
But if the NEG did not go ahead, the ESB predicted that electricity bills would be $300 higher than they would otherwise be because of the lack of certainty, and the lack of investment.
“So that is the price for Australian households of Scott Morrison’s weak, abject surrender to Tony Abbott – prices continuing to skyrocket,” Butler said on Monday.