At the very least it removes a lot of the general public relations wind that was being created by the federal government’s steady reference to ‘big stick’.
But it was all the time harmful to put such powers within the arms of a authorities – notably a authorities that has been utterly hapless and inept at its makes an attempt to formulate a complete policy that gives the energy market buyers with any certainty on local weather or emissions.
The slender targeted on influencing retail costs and utilizing no matter means to do it was a unadorned try and muster help from shoppers within the lead as much as an election.
(Of course there’s nothing improper with trying to make sure energy corporations are aggressive and don’t overcharge. But that is greatest left with the competitors and shopper regulator.)
The entire concept of getting the nuclear choice to pressure energy corporations to heel clearly had worth for the Coalition which figured that attraction to voters.
But it was menace to buyers in energy corporations and the constructive response to the change within the proposed energy policy was evident sufficient on Tuesday when AGL’s share worth rose towards the tide of a falling stock market.
The big stick policy nevertheless contained a collection of points round overreach – not the least of which was the federal government’s means to mandate asset divestments, even with the advice of the buyer regulator, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
The business group had already began to harness its lobbying powers to enter battle. It was appalled on the prospect of legislating such powers and made a lot of the sovereign danger related to what may turn into the skinny finish of the wedge.
The groundswell for a High Court problem from energy corporations, on constitutional grounds, was already in practice.
Even the federal government’s personal backbench contained members that harboured considerations about forcing divestiture saying they have been inconsistent with core Liberal values. Additionally there was a scarcity of safe help from the cross bench.
The circumstances beneath which these divestiture powers could possibly be invoked was additionally unclear – aside from worth gouging.
Indeed going to conflict with energy corporations has allowed the federal government to realize little floor.
The minister in control of this energy nightmare, Angus Taylor met with numerous stakeholders within the energy market a couple of weeks again -a nicely heralded get collectively that was billed as train in attaining some consensus on shopper worth caps.
The minister emerged from the discussion board claiming victory in getting the energy retailers to agree to offer clients with standardised and simply comparable charges by July 1 to allow them to make straightforward comparisons, and make a January 1 ‘voluntary downpayment’ on this train.
What is left following this week’s policy dilution is a rescheduling of this laws till subsequent yr.
Price caps didn’t seem to function in any respect within the discussions.
Rather than taking the type of a high-level assembly between Taylor and the chief executives of the big energy corporations, the gathering on the Intercontinental Hotel appeared extra like a city corridor assembly with 20 corporations represented.
It appeared extra like a authorities public relations train – one which was designed to make sure the general public was conscious that the federal government was ready to tackle big business, and advocate for shoppers and small business that had been overpaying for energy whereas pumping up the earnings of the big business energy corporations.
What is left following this week’s policy dilution is a rescheduling of this laws till subsequent yr within the window forward of the finances.
Well – no matter is left of it.
Elizabeth Knight feedback on corporations, markets and the financial system.