Legislative Council: Tuesday, June 27, 2023


Retail Energy Prices

The Hon. S.L. GAME (14:59): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before addressing a question to the Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, representing the Minister for Energy and Mining, on retail energy prices.

Leave granted.

The Hon. S.L. GAME: The Electricity Trust of South Australia was a government-owned monopoly from 1946 until 1999, when the Liberal government broke its promise and privatised it, with the help of two Labor members. The electricity distribution and transmission business of the trust were bought by a company now known as SA Power Networks, which continues to operate as a monopoly in this state.

Each South Australian electricity consumer has paid around $1,200 more for electricity over the period 2014 to 2021 than they should have, according to one submission made to the government's retail energy prices inquiry. My constituents are telling me that, as of 1 July this year, their electricity charges increased by over 21 per cent, coupled with their solar rebates decreasing by over 17 per cent. I refer to the Minister for Energy and Mining's retail energy prices inquiry under part 7 of the Essential Services Commission Act 2002 and due for report to the minister in late May 2023. My questions are:

1. When will the government release the Essential Services Commission report into retail energy prices in South Australia?

2. How will the government overcome South Australia's winter weather, which renders solar panels and wind turbines useless much of the time, leaving our state dependent on expensive gas to generate electricity?

The Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN (Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, Minister for Forest Industries) (15:01): I thank the honourable member for her very important question and her ongoing interest in these matters. I will refer it to the relevant minister in the other place and bring back a reply.