The Australian energy market has failed. Victoria must lead the way in the creation of a national, publicly owned power grid that provides cheap, reliable power and leads the transition to an affordable renewable economy. When the electricity system was privatised 25 years ago, we were told that the new privately-operated market system would be more efficient, more reliable, and cheaper. But all that’s happened is that we’re paying through the nose to prop up the profits of private energy companies. Even before the latest price hikes, electricity prices had increased at three times the rate of inflation over two decade, costing households an extra $400 to $500 every year. Our gas was sold off as well – so Victorian gas bills are now the second highest in the country, at nearly $1,000 per year on average. The poorest are hit hardest, spending more than 6 percent of their income on power and gas, compared to only 1.5 percent for the wealthiest households. Nearly 17,000 Victorian households can’t pay their electricity bills. The situation will only get worse without decisive action.
What we think
- The infrastructure and resources used to provide basic utilities are the collective property of society and should be publicly owned and controlled.
- Energy production and distribution should not be run for profit but to satisfy the needs of the population.
- Energy production and distribution must be as environmentally sustainable as possible.
What we'll fight for
- Introduce an immediate annual price cap on electricity and gas bills for two years based on their average 2018 prices.
- Wipe all existing household utility debts and arrears.
- Initiate a public takeover of the energy industry.
- Create a not-for-profit public energy operator responsible for all aspects of energy provision – including investment, generation, transmission and distribution – which:
- Has a charter mandating that it acts to secure the long-term energy security of the state.
- That it oversees the transition away from fossil fuels in energy production.
- Returns quarterly revenues above operating costs to a government energy infrastructure fund to finance the expansion of a 100 percent renewable energy grid.
- Progressively reduces household energy bills as the power generation and transmission capacity of the grid expands.
- Increase research into marine power and energy storage
- Increase research into the development and viability of hydrogen as a fuel and form of energy storage when produced using renewable energy.
- Invest in the local expansion of solar photovoltaic manufacturing and lithium-ion battery manufacturing to supply local communities with renewable power supplies.
- Expand the state government’s Neighbourhood Battery Initiative.