Electricity Reform Crashes: new approach sought

February 27, 2004 - Greens (WA) energy spokesperson Robin Chapple MLC rejected the Government's approach to electricity reform, and outlined a series of urgent measures to put the process back on track.

The five Greens (WA) MLCs met with the Minister for Energy on Thursday 26 February, hoping to find a way to resolve the impasse. With the Government refusing to budge on its radical proposal for splitting Western Power into four separate corporations, the Greens were unable to reach an agreement with the Minister.

'The Greens do not accept that delivering cheaper electricity to big business should be the top priority for electricity reform,' Mr Chapple said. 'Our top priorities are maintaining reliability of supply and dramatically reducing our out of control greenhouse gas emissions.'

The Greens want:

  • Demand management which is more than simply reducing peak demand. The Government must investigate the many ways in which to promote energy efficiency. It is hoped that Minister Ripper will not renege on his commitment to two inquiries into demand management and the potential contribution of renewable energy generation.
  • A whole of community approach to housing design, urban transport, agriculture and industry policy in order to create sustainable reductions in electricity consumption. Future electricity reform must occur within the framework of the Government's sustainability strategy.
  • Western Power reformed to promote greater transparency and eliminate predatory commercial practices, particularly as they relate to private renewable energy generators. Current moves to set up an access regime must not stall simply because the government's disaggregation proposal has been defeated

'The Government must acknowledge that blind trust in competition and market forces is no substitute for good public policy. In an age of climate change, the Gallop Government's handling of electricity reform is not merely incompetent, but dangerous,' Mr Chapple concluded.

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