COAG Energy Ministers Agree to Significant Reform Package

Emily Wood | August 19, 2016

The COAG Energy Council has agreed to significant reforms and a major new program of work to ensure the energy system remains affordable and reliable as we transition to a lower emissions future. Council focused on three key areas of reform:  Increasing liquidity and transparency in gas markets  Empowering consumer choice  Ensuring stability and connectivity of the National Electricity Market (NEM) Significant reports on gas market reform from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) provided a strong evidence base and momentum for action. To fast track implementation of the recommendations from these reports Council will form a new Gas Market Reform Group headed by Dr Michael Vertigan. These are the most significant reforms to the domestic gas market in two decades. Council recognised the growing importance of gas as a transition fuel as we move to incorporate more renewables into the system. The reforms will improve competition, encourage more supply and put downward pressure on prices. Another key focus of the Council will ensure consumers can confidently take advantage of new technologies such as battery storage through the introduction of appropriate consumer protections. Council acknowledged the important role played by interconnectors in the NEM and agreed to review regulatory settings to ensure they do not present barriers to appropriate investment in the current market environment. Officials have also been asked to provide advice on economic and operational impacts of existing and proposed state and territory emissions reduction policies on the energy system. This advice will inform the Council’s consideration of how to better integrate energy and emissions policy. The Council has proved its ability to respond to current issues and I look forward to further engagement with my colleagues when we meet again in December to build on the progress made today.

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