There are no quick solutions to fix the energy crisis gripping the east coast of the country, the prime minister says.
As Anthony Albanese prepares to discuss the crisis with state and territory leaders at his first national cabinet meeting on Friday, households have been told to brace for more power challenges in the coming weeks.
“It’s no good gilding the lily and pretending that that hasn’t happened, and it can’t just be fixed overnight,” the prime minister told the Seven Network on Friday.
“What we’re doing is taking immediate action to assist households and businesses through the Australian Energy Market Operator, using the tools which are at its disposal.”
The operator says it has been able to manage energy supply more effectively to meet the demand since it suspended the spot price market on Wednesday.
Mr Albanese said power costs were higher as a result of inaction by the previous government on energy policy.
“We haven’t had any of the investment that’s required into new energy, and when we’ve had that energy , we haven’t fixed the transmission grid,” he said.
“There are issues and we’re facing them, we’re dealing with the immediate consequences as well as making sure we actually fix the problems which are there.”
Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles said while the AEMO intervention was unusual, it was necessary.
“We’re in this situation because of the failure of the former Liberal government to do anything in relation to energy policy and the wars which were going on inside their party room,” he told the Nine Network.
“We’ll be working with the large energy companies, the larger users, to try and make sure that we can moderate the supply and demand in the market, we’re working our way through this crisis.”
The market operator said the risk of power shortfalls had been averted for now.
“There have been significant improvements in AEMO’s certainty of generator availability and limitations,” it said on Thursday.
“Despite this, challenges remain in the energy sector.”
Nationals leader David Littleproud said while the previous coalition government had been in power for nine years, the issues impacting the energy sector were more recent.
“This is something that’s only just emerged over the last 100 days when (Russian President) Vladimir Putin crossed the border into the Ukraine,” he told the Nine Network.
“It’s been exacerbated by the fact that a number of power stations had to have repairs and annual maintenance, it’s all come together at one juncture.”
Gas prices have soared following the war in Ukraine and other supply issues.
A number of Australian coal-fired power stations are offline because of ageing technology.