Deputy Premier Bryan Green says sale of Tasmanian energy company Aurora's customer base off agenda after Treasury advice
RETAIL competition for Tasmanian energy companies is up in the air with the State Government taking the sale of Aurora's customer base off the table.
Deputy Premier Bryan Green this morning admitted there would not be full retail contestability in the energy market at the start of next year as previously promised.
Mr Green said selling Aurora's customer base was off the agenda after advice from Treasury.
He said the sale needed to meet three objectives:
DELIVER competition in the electricity market.
OFFER a fair and reasonable price.
MINIMISE the residual risks and liabilities to the state.
"It is with disappointment that I inform the House that I have recently been advised that the divestment of Aurora's retail customers is unlikely to achieve these objectives at the current time," Mr Green told Parliament in a ministerial statement this morning.
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"I have been advised by Treasury that it does not believe that the current divestment process will achieve a fair and reasonable price at this time for Aurora's retail customers.
"In these circumstances, the Government has decided that continuing with the current divestment process would be neither appropriate nor responsible."
Mr Green said legislation that has already passed Parliament would allow for retail contestability in the future.
The cost of the move toward retail contestability has added up to $36.5 million, a document tabled in Parliament this morning shows.
Opposition Energy spokesman Matthew Groom, who supported the electricity reforms, said it was not the policy that was the issue.
"This is about the Government's botched reforms – not the policy," Mr Groom said.
"Tasmania must be bewildered when the minister said it was a core element of reform … and it has failed."
Both Mr Groom and Mr Green disputed claims made by Greens energy spokesman Kim Booth who said the Tasmanian wholesale energy market should have also been opened up for competition.
Mr Green said the Greens policy could lead to the sale of Hydro.
"If we did what you wanted to do, there is no coming back," Mr Green said.
"It is too risky to go down that path.
"We want competition in Tasmania but not at any cost."
Sourced from The Mercury
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