Full response from a spokesperson for Paul Fletcher for a FactCheck on electricity prices and renewable energy policy

On an episode of Q&A, Minister for Urban Infrastructure and Cities Paul Fletcher claimed that:

The consequence of [Jay Weatherill’s renewable energy] policies was that South Australians faced the highest electricity charges, the highest retail electricity charges, in the country.

In response to The Conversation’s request for sources and comment to support the minister’s statement for consideration in this FactCheck, a spokesperson for Fletcher provided the following information:

Australian Energy Market Commission 2017 retail price trends

Chart provided by a spokesperson for Minister for Urban Infrastructure and Cities Paul Fletcher.

South Australia’s retail prices are 21% the national average.

Volume-weighted average wholesale price (Australian Energy Market Operator data):

Table provided by a spokesperson for Minister for Urban Infrastructure and Cities Paul Fletcher.

(The Conversation requested a link to the source for these figures. A spokesperson for Fletcher said the figures are “based on publicly available wholesale market data published by AEMO”. Dylan McConnell, lead author of the FactCheck, calculated volume weighted prices from Australian Energy Market Operator data for Summer 2017-18 and found the price for South Australia to be $146.15.)

Over the summer South Australia had the highest wholesale prices, 66% higher than the national average. South Australia has the highest share of generation from renewable energy.

Some additional, useful information from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission:

“ … the combination of significant network investment over the past decade, recent increases to gas prices, more concentrated wholesale markets, and the transition from large scale synchronous generation to variable and intermittent renewable energy resources has had a more pronounced effect on retail prices and number of offers in South Australia than any other state in the National Electricity Market.”

Read the FactCheck here.