The Coalition win in the weekend's election has raised industry concerns that the Scott Morrison government will return to its 'big stick' legislative agenda to rein in power prices.
Electricity companies on Sunday called for energy policy stability and warned ongoing threats to the sector may dissuade the investment in new generation that is needed to lower power prices.
Prior to the election the Morrison government had controversially proposed interventionist new rules giving it the ability to break-up power companies found to be behaving poorly in the market.
The government craft its so-called 'big stick' policies in an attempt to reduce historically high power prices after dumping its combined energy and climate change policy, the National Energy Guarantee (NEG). Although it did not attempt to push the forced divestment legislation through parliament.
The plans were widely condemned by the energy and business sectors which urged the government not to revive them.
Australian Industry Group chief executive Innes Willox said instead the focus should be on developing a replacement for the NEG.
“If we continue with a succession of rapidly reversed policies or no policy at all, at best we will see a costly patchwork of state and localised interventions, and at worst we will see our current energy disadvantage cemented and a receding ability to meet our emissions targets," Mr Willox said.
Electricity retailer Powershop chief executive Ed McManus said the industry was worried the policy would deter investment.
“The industry, lobby groups and regulators gave consistent feedback that, as well-intentioned as it was, the plan would dissuade investment in the sector," Mr McManus said
Origin Energy chief executive Frank Calabria said his company needed stability to bring more generation online.
We look forward to working with the government to achieve policy settings which allow us to invest with confidence
"We look forward to working with the government to achieve policy settings which allow us to invest with confidence," Mr Calabria said.
EnergyAustralia chief executive Cath Tanna said the industry and the new government now had an"opportunity to reset our relationships and recommit to working toward a clear, stable and long-term energy policy".
AGL declined to comment.
The soon-to-retire head of gas pipeline monopoly APA, Mick McCormack said the Morrison government could not ignore the dual issues of energy and climate change.
"The new government has to recognise a couple of independents are there solely by campaigning on climate change," he said.
An electricity retailer, who preferred to remain unnamed, said after the Coalition lost members agitating against climate change policy the path forward should regain some sensibility.
“The fact that Tony Abbott lost his seat of Warringah [against independent Zali Steggall] should send a message that gives them a fright to prevent them from moving too far to the right and supporting unsustainable energy and climate policies,” he said.
“It shouldn’t be that hard to regain some level of sensibility.”
Ms Steggall on Sunday said she intended to support a Morrison government and looked forward to talking to the government about a new start on climate policy.
Former federal Energy Minister Angus Taylor was approached for comment.
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