A failure to support renewable energy projects means Australia’s big electricity companies have lost a friend in Indi MP Cathy McGowan.
The federal government will move to pass its “big stick” energy package during upcoming sittings in Canberra, threatening to break up the big companies if they refuse to lower electricity prices.
Energy Minister Angus Taylor said he expected electricity companies to hate the bill because it would force them to put customers first.
“If the market was working well, it would not be required,” he said.
“Instead, your power bills are being held hostage to the market dominance of the big energy companies and every Australian is wearing the cost.”
Ms McGowan has declared she will support the government when it comes time to vote.
“I have been lobbied almost like I’ve never been lobbied before by the major electricity companies, saying ‘Cathy, you need to vote with Labor against the government’,” she said.
“I said ‘no guys, I’m not voting for you’.”
One of its methods is by using “distributed power”, generated and shared among homes connected to a mini-grid.
Mondo, an offshoot of AusNet Services, has been working in partnership with the group, but the big companies have not shown the same level of enthusiasm.
Ms McGowan said although she listened to their arguments, they could not adequately answer her question of “what have you ever done for community energy?”.
“I said ‘I would vote for you if I had seen any indication over the last five years from any of you major electricity companies that you actually care about distributed power’,” she said.
“I’m supporting the government and it might not be perfect, but it’s my stand against the major electricity companies and their failure to do what Mondo has done so well.”
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