Energy minister blames federal gov't over AER

Queensland energy minister Mark McArdle has come out swinging against the federal government about it hindering the Australian Energy Regulator (AER).

He claimed administration at the federal level has seen gold plating of the electricity infrastructure and that the AER is unable to police and monitor efficient spending when it's not truly independent.

Mr McArdle said the federal level needs to admit that expenditure on infrastructure was down to the AER and not the states.

He added: "Over the past five years, the AER has overseen an explosion in construction of poles and wires.

"Under the Commonwealth's watch, capital expenditure of energy companies in the five years from 2006-07 to 2010-11, increased by $11.3 billion. This capital was mostly for additional poles and wires which was added to the asset base on which the AER determined the allowable income for network companies."

The government is failing to address the reality of what is truly driving up network costs, he added, which equates to rising electricity prices.

Mr McArdle said that he would be raising his desire to see an entire review of the approvals process with the Standing Council on Energy and Resources.

Posted by Charlie Moore