The Government has signalled that it is willing to take strong measures to ensure power prices fall while trying to resist naysayers within the Coalition ranks.
Some Coalition backbenchers are threatening to cross party lines and vote against the NEG, with former Prime Minister Tony Abbott and former Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce criticising the Government’s proposal.
Detractors believe that the NEG won’t reduce the cost of power by a big enough margin.
Defections from within the Coalition ranks could spell death for the NEG, unless the Government is able to convince Labor to vote in favour of it.
In order to appease the potential defectors, the Prime Minister has apparently said that they will not rule out taking strong measures to reduce the average price.
A Government source said that if they needed to use “a big stick” to force down prices, then they would.
Malcolm Turnbull has insisted that he has “laser” focus on getting a reduction in power bills for household and says that the NEG will work to deliver that.
The cost of electricity is the primary concern for the NEG’s detractors many of whom have reserved their position on the matter.
The Government source said that the Prime Minister was “reaching out” to the concerned MPs and “holding constructive discussions”.
Scott Morrison, the Federal Treasurer, said that the Government was looking at a standard electricity price so as to reduce energy bills, but disclaimed that it would need to be designed carefully in order to “keep these big energy companies under control”.
He went on to say that they needed to “get the balance right on regulation” for fear of prices being driven up in response.
With a default price, consumers would be able to compare and see if they were being overcharged by their energy provider.