As with any major policy change, it’s worth asking who benefits from the National Energy Guarantee. Among the obvious answers are Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Environment and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg and the big three energy companies – AGL, Origin and Energy Australia.
For Turnbull and Frydenberg, the stakes are clear: a political win they can campaign on before the election.
However, the real winners are the big three. Last week, AGL recorded a 27 per cent increase in annual profit to $1 billion. In light of the oligopoly that exists in Australia’s electricity market, it’s reasonable to assume similar performance from AGL’s competitors. The driving force behind these profits is of course the increases in electricity prices that are hurting consumers.
One of the reasons for rising electricity prices is lack of competition, particularly in the wholesale electricity market, of which the big three control 46 per cent. As it stands, the NEG coupled with Turnbull’s low targets for emissions cuts does nothing to provide incentives for new generation to enter the market and compete.
Why would these companies want anything to change? It's no wonder that all three companies have come out backing the NEG and suggesting "it’s the only choice now".