Clive Palmer says the amendment he is demanding in return for his party’s Senate votes to repeal the carbon tax will include price reductions for large industrial power users that have direct contracts with generators, as well as for households.
He also suggested it could apply to businesses that put up prices due to the carbon tax, other than the electricity and gas companies covered by the competition watchdog’s price exploitation powers.
The government believes the additional powers it has given the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) will ensure power price reductions are passed on to households when the carbon price is repealed, and that Palmer’s demands – while not necessary – will be easily met.
But Palmer insists his amendment to the carbon repeal bills will force companies to pass on savings. In an interview with Guardian Australia at the weekend, he suggested it would also apply to electricity contracts entered into by large industrial users, and possibly to companies other than electricity and gas providers.
“Our amendment makes it a requirement that people will have to pass on the power cost savings … not a voluntary situation, it doesn’t leave it up to the ACCC to decide at its discretion whether or not it wants to enforce this,” he said.
“It will apply to every Australian company … everybody under our jurisdiction … you don’t have to worry, it will apply to everyone,” he said, confirming it would apply to industrial contracts for power supply such as those signed by aluminium smelters.
Palmer said he was acting because as a businessman he knew businesses would be inclined not to pass on the savings, and would just “play around” with the regulator.