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Labor call to delink NEM

LABOR has accused the Government of breaking a promise to delink Tasmania from the National Electricity Market leaving Tasmanian at risk of further power price rises.

Energy spokesperson Dean Winter said the state was also potentially liable for millions of dollars in compensation to mainland power generators. “With power prices soaring to unprecedented levels and electricity providers pressuring the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) to increase prices further, there is a real risk that some of these costs will be passed onto Tasmanian consumers,’’ Mr Winter said. “That means the 12 per cent power price increase Tasmanians are already facing may well be just the beginning.

“Premier Jeremy Rockliff and Energy Minister Guy Barnett have dismissed Labor’s proposed cap on power prices and cancelled this week’s Parliamentary sitting to avoid debating the legislation. “Mr Rockliff and Mr Barnett also need to explain whether Tasmanians will foot the bill for compensating mainland energy generators affected by the recent chaos in the National Energy Market. “Will they rule out any further price rises in Tasmania as a result of this national market chaos.’’

Mr Barnett said Tasmania should remain connected to the NEM. “After one of the driest winters on record, Hydro Tasmania has adjusted its energy generation profile for the coming months and is prudently managing its water resources,’’ Mr Barnett said. “This is a sensible and conservative approach that will ensure dam levels are maintained appropriately and will result in Basslink being used more to maintain its storage levels during this time, which we support. “Hydro Tasmania’s dam storage levels are actively monitored against benchmark storage levels, which was an additional safeguard put in place following significant challenges to Tasmanian energy supply during 2015- 16 – and the system is working.

“This is exactly why Tasmania remains connected to the NEM – to safeguard against adverse weather events such as this, not to mention the immense opportunities it allows in terms of jobs and investment.