Xenophon’s SA BEST unveils community electricity co-op plan

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SA BEST promises cut state power prices by up to 20%, build new renewables, with community electricity retailer scheme.

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One Step Off The Grid

Nick Xenophon’s SA BEST party has waded into the South Australia energy war, with an election promise to cut power prices by as much as 20 per cent, by setting up a community electricity co-op.

Billed as an “exciting plan to lower power prices using the co-operative model of community electricity trusts,” the policy was unveiled on Tuesday ahead of the March 17 state election.

It follows a battery of energy policy promises from Jay Weatherill’s Labor Party, including plans to boost the state renewables target to 75 per cent, to introduce an energy storage target, and to adopt nation-leading electric vehicle incentives.

The SA Liberal Party has been less ambitious, but in October last year promised $100 million in grants to help homes to buy and install battery storage.

The SA BEST policy proposal gives form to one of Xenophon’s most favoured campaign slogans, which promised to give power back to the South Australian people.

To be named the Community Electricity Trust of SA (cETSA), the co-operative retailer would be made up of 50,000 lower-income households and up to 5000 small businesses, and power prices for those members would come down by 20 per cent.

The retailer would also be able to tender to develop 150MW of new renewable energy generation.

“The co-operative (energy) model has an internationally proven track record for delivering services,” said Business Council of Cooperatives and Mutuals CEO Melina Morrison.

“(It) is already being deployed in countries around the world, including the USA, Germany and Denmark,” she said.

“Nick Xenophon has been a long-time champion of co-operative and mutual enterprises – the Business Council of Co-operatives and Mutuals is confident this won’t be the last creative solution to SA’s problems using the co-op and mutual model from SA BEST.”

This article was originally published on RenewEconomy’s sister site, One Step Off The Grid, which focuses on customer experience with distributed generation. To sign up to One Step’s free weekly newsletter, please click here.

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7 Comments
  1. MaxG 1 year ago

    So he is effectively promoting the creation of a public utility… LMAO.
    A good idea nevertheless…

    • Matthew 1 year ago

      Yes cETSA, the name of the former state owned electricity provider (without the c). It always bemuses me how a great Liberal Premier (Tom Playford) nationalised what was then a private electricity market. He also set up mass public housing, the car industry, the ship building industry, the steel industry … and his successors have been desperately trying to sell off everything ever since.

      • MaxG 1 year ago

        Playford, an interesting character indeed 🙂

  2. George Darroch 1 year ago

    At least SA’s Second Best are pushing a renewables policy. The real risk is that they get the numbers to push the Liberal Party over the line. Only a vote for Labor will ensure that the progress being made is maintained.

    • Sir Pete o Possums Reek 1 year ago

      Yes.
      It is at least supportive of renewables and reform .
      Puts pressure on the other parties to match or also cover that area.
      (apart from the Co-op structure Labor has it well covered)

      There is some risk that Corries Conservatives (The special Kays) will end up with disproportionate power possibly in both houses.

      So it is more than helpful if as many of the others are at least on a sane page around energy.

  3. Sir Pete o Possums Reek 1 year ago

    It is a great idea.

    Essentially the concept is working in other places why not here in sunny Soz ?
    Now watch for the details.
    I’ll be waiting with popcorn , for his prop laden re-launches as he dilutes the concept
    and even the (distributed) 150 MW limit .
    (whats wrong with watt _hours_ chaps is it too real or something? )
    Why limit at 150 MW ? 200MW 1GW ?
    Simplez it’s a market not a Utility ! .
    The current -petals- operators need disruption protection.

    After all for X its *not* (cough) wind power (wheeze) and may/will grab some “not-labor-again” voters and “little-l-liberals”. With less infra sound power the chooks can continue to lay, dishes may continue consorting with spoons… We can all go back to plaiting our unicorns rainbow tails …

    In short I am suspicious of the little monster.
    Though *shrug* could be worse I suppose.

  4. Aluap 1 year ago

    Who can trust the policies SABest comes up with? Why are they pretending expertise? If any of their rushed “policies” eventuate, will they help SA or will they just be a vehicle by which Xenophon gains power? Xenophon will be getting a fat salary for years to come. No more Porkies, Nick, please!

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