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Scott Morrison’s energy minister insists Australia’s power crisis is not his government’s fault

Scott Morrison’s former energy secretary tried desperately on Sunday morning to distance himself and the last government from the Australian power crisis.

With parts of the country narrowly avoiding blackouts, Angus Taylor – now the spokesman for the Liberal treasury – and party leader Peter Dutton are instead blaming Labour.

This is despite the coalition being in power for nine years until Labor took over after winning the federal election held four weeks ago.

Taylor said the previous administration successfully managed power supplies “in the run-up to the election.”

A power supply and price crisis has engulfed Australia in recent weeks.

Then Prime Minister Scott Morrison (left) is pictured with then Energy Secretary Angus Taylor (right) in Melbourne's Altona, Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Then Prime Minister Scott Morrison (left) is pictured with then Energy Secretary Angus Taylor (right) in Melbourne’s Altona, Tuesday, November 9, 2021

The energy crisis worsened last week, with the suspension of the National Electricity Market, hospitals ordered to cut electricity consumption and urging millions of people not to use basic equipment despite the frigid winter weather.

The potential for massive power outages increased with approximately 1800 MW of coal-fired power not in operation in Queensland and 1200 MW of capacity offline in the states of NSW, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania.

The Albanian government blamed Morrison’s former government, while NSW Prime Minister Dominic Perrottet said there was an “ideological war” over renewables.

Not wanting to accept responsibility for the crisis, Taylor said the challenges went beyond what the former government could control.

“There is no doubt that there has been upward pressure on energy prices around the world, there is no doubt about it – and that is a big challenge,” he told Sky News.

“The point I’m making is that sensible steps can be taken to relieve that pressure.”

Host Andrew Clennell interrupted him and asked, “Wait, do you take any responsibility?”

Workers are seen on a power pylon in a Sydney suburb.  A power supply and price crisis has engulfed Australia in recent weeks

Workers are seen on a power pylon in a Sydney suburb. A power supply and price crisis has engulfed Australia in recent weeks

opinion poll

Who is responsible for the energy crisis in Australia?

  • the coalition 141 votes
  • labor 71 votes
  • Both major parties 253 votes
  • Doomsayers climate change 519 votes
  • do not know 45 votes

‘We had successfully done this in the run-up to the election,’ replied Mr Taylor.

“We did it, we showed you how to do that when you focus on supplies and don’t demonize traditional fuel sources… and we delivered the results.”

Mr Dutton said the energy crisis belongs to the new Labor government, but does not place the responsibility solely on it – he also blames the states.

“There’s a flaw everywhere here… Over a long period of time, people have held various positions, including state governments,” he told ABC.

Dutton claimed that Labor would exacerbate the crisis.

“We were agnostic in terms of technology or energy source…this is the point,” he said.

“Labor would have eliminated the coal years ago. (Minister of Energy) Chris Bowen’s argument is still current to exclude coal and gas.

“I think (Mr Bowen) is a bunny in the headlights.”

Taylor said if he were still the Secretary of Energy, he would have made sure there was more supply on the market.

Of the renewable sources, the sun makes up about 37 percent and wind 36 percent.  Pictured: A wind farm in Tasmania

Of the renewable sources, the sun makes up about 37 percent and wind 36 percent. Pictured: A wind farm in Tasmania

“If you focus on reliable delivery, you won’t be in this position,” he said.

Labor Relations Secretary Tony Burke said the interview with Mr Taylor was “extraordinary”.

“No responsibility was taken for anything,” Burke told Sky News. “And most importantly, how do they get supplies going?

“His example was Kurri Kurri (in the NSW Hunter Valley), which they announced but was not built.”

The National Electricity Market was suspended for the first time on Wednesday.  Pictured is the Bayswater coal-fired power station cooling towers and power distribution wires in Muswellbrook, in the NSW Hunter Valley region

The National Electricity Market was suspended for the first time on Wednesday. Pictured is the Bayswater coal-fired power station cooling towers and power distribution wires in Muswellbrook, in the NSW Hunter Valley region

Burke said the former government has “no sense of ownership of (the crisis) in the energy market at this point.”

He said the coalition was responsible for “years of neglect.”

“There is work to be done to be able to (fix) that,” he said.

“If Mr Taylor has plans to treat the Australian economy (as Shadow Treasurer) the way he’s treated the national energy market, they won’t come up with many good ideas.”

What is happening in the electricity market?

AEMO ACCESSES THE ELECTRICITY MARKET

The Australian Energy Market Operator has temporarily suspended the spot market in NSW, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and Victoria – the states involved in the national electricity market.

AEMO said it has become impossible to continue operating the spot market while ensuring a safe and reliable supply of electricity for consumers in accordance with the rules.

WHAT ACTION IS TAKEN?

The market operator will apply a fixed price for the five states in the national electricity market, compensating the generators who bid in the market during the suspension price period.

It followed that on Tuesday AEMO was forced to run five gigawatts of generation through direct intervention and found that it was no longer able to serve the spot market or the power system in this way.

The market will return to normal as soon as it is practically possible.

AEMO has assured the federal government that there will be enough power to avoid any power outages or outages.

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