20
Mar

Coronavirus: United push to protect energy supplies and consumers

Australia’s energy ministers will sign off on a national response to COVID-19 led by governments and industry, focusing on managing electricity, gas and fuel supplies, monitoring long-term impacts and ensuring consumer protection.

Energy and Emissions Reduction Minister Angus Taylor said the meeting, to be conducted via secure teleconference on Friday, would aim to establish national “co-ordination on energy and fuel”.

Energy ministers will commit to using regulatory frameworks to acquire updates on petrol and diesel stocks, as well as supply and demand forecasts from the fuel sector.

The Australian understands that Mr Taylor is also pressing the big four energy companies — AGL, Origin Energy, EnergyAustralia and Alinta — to ensure adequate customer protections are in place to protect small businesses and individuals during the extended coronavirus economic shock.

Mr Taylor said the Council of Australian Governments Energy Council meeting would ensure “essential services” continued to be delivered.

“We will be working with state and territory governments, industry and stakeholders to ensure Australia remains well-prepared to respond to energy supply disruptions, including electricity, gas and liquid fuels,” he said.

Mr Taylor has identified six key areas for the federal, state and territory governments to focus their COVID-19 response, including infection control and workforce management, managing supply and long-term impacts, co-ordinating emergency management powers, removing barriers for industry and helping consumers.

The Australian understands while there were no immediate impacts to energy supplies, government and industry will work together to ensure “clear quantitative information” was available.

 

Extracted from The Australian