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The national electricity market is a failed 1990s experiment. It’s time the grid returned to public hands

TJ Ryan Foundation Research Associate, John Quiggin, writes in The Conversation (22.6.22) about the benefits of nationalising the country’s electricity networks. The author argues why it’s time for a national grid that serves the public and meets the challenges of a warming world.

‘A crisis, as the saying has it, combines danger and opportunity. The dangers of the current electricity crisis are obvious. The opportunity it presents is to end to the failed experiment of the national electricity market.

‘Having suspended the market last week, the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) is now directing generators when to supply electricity. It’s also paying them lavish compensation for the financial shortfalls they suffer as a result.

‘These emergency measures are unsustainable. But they provide the starting point for a restructured electricity supply industry – one that’s better balanced between markets and planning.

‘Now’s the time to create a national grid that serves the Australian public and meets the challenges of a warming world. A new government-owned and operated body should take control of Australia’s electricity system. And decarbonising the grid, while ensuring reliable and affordable energy, should be its core business.’

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