Energy ministers meet during gas crisis

Australian energy ministers have been urged to find solutions to the country’s rising prices and to calm the “chaos”.

Chris Bowen, who has taken on the energy portfolio in the new Albanian government, will host a video link roundtable on Wednesday with his counterparts in the state and territory as gas prices rise on the east coast.

A broad coalition of top bodies, including those representing the country’s farmers and energy sectors, as well as community interest groups, want low-income households to receive priority financial support as they demand a balanced response.

“Without urgent action, this winter will be a difficult one for energy users and may not be much easier in the coming years,” the joint statement read.

Accelerating Australia’s transition to clean energy fairly will provide relief, but ultimately will not be fast enough to deal with the current crisis, they say.

The group warns that high international prices for coal and gas will persist for years and says cooperation offers the best chance of pushing them down.

“No player has all the powers, resources and information to solve this crisis,” the statement said.

State and territory energy ministers expressed their optimism ahead of the meeting as they work to tackle strained gas supplies at a time when inflationary pressures are making it harder for households to make ends meet.

Queensland Energy Minister Mick de Brenni said consultations with the state’s energy industry ahead of the meeting would boost his engagement with his colleagues.

“I will be attending this meeting with direct input from the Queensland energy industry, the energy consumption sector and energy consumers small and large who will meet me on Wednesday morning to give me advice on how to deliver the best outcome for Queensland,” he told MONKEY.

Energy Secretary Shane Rattenbury said it was an opportunity to “make up for lost time” after years of neglect by the federal government.

“(I) look forward to working with them to accelerate the introduction of electric vehicles in Australia, provide more storage to the national grid and amend the National Electricity Objective to include the need for emissions reductions he told AAP.

The ACT will become the only Australian jurisdiction to experience a small drop in electricity prices as a result of large-scale renewable energy projects coming online, the economic regulator says.

Government-owned energy supplier ActewAGL will oversee an average 1.25 percent cut in electricity costs from July 1, the Independent Competition and Regulatory Commission announced Monday.

Treasurer Jim Chalmers is waiting for advice from the competition watchdog on the role and impact of shutting down coal plants on energy prices and what regulations can be applied.

But he said a key reason for talks with state and territory ministers was that “much of the powers (over the energy sector) exist at the state level”.

He admitted that a range of factors, from the war in Ukraine to flooding on the east coast, had led to a “perfect storm” affecting the energy sector.

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