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Prime Minister warns gas suppliers

Yesterday’s meeting between Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and the heads of Australia’s leading gas supply companies and the AEMO generated a lot of hot air.

The meeting heard that that the industry, including pipeline operators and generators, with AEMO, have developed a framework to make sure gas is delivered at times of peak electricity demand to prevent blackouts.

The arrangement will be in place by 1 October this year well in time to prepare for the next summer.

“While this progress is encouraging a lot more needs to be done,” said the Prime Minister.

“The Government remains concerned that the east coast export LNG operators have not yet clearly articulated how Australian households and business will get adequate supply at reasonable prices.

“The Government has asked the exporters to provide further information, in the context of possible regulatory options to address the short term market issues.”

The gas industry has also revised supply and production figures which, subject to further study by AEMO, will help address projected shortfalls.

The meeting also discussed the agreement of the COAG Energy Council to accelerate gas market and pipeline reforms with rollout to commence from 1 July 2017.

The meeting further noted the critical role of the states and territories in enabling gas exploration and development.

To verify the progress in gas supply, Treasurer Scott Morrison directed the ACCC to establish a monitoring regime by using its inquiry powers to compel the gas industry to provide information, to underpin a new transparency in the gas market to the benefit of consumers.

This new measure will shine a light on transactions with the Australian gas market and help it operate more fairly and efficiently.

This work will run over three years, with regular public reporting, and will give the ACCC and market participants a complete picture of the gas market, aiming to increase transparency, facilitate competition and ensure the gas market is operating well.