AGL, one of the country’s biggest electricity and gas retailers and the largest coal-fired generator, is at the same time under political fire over its intention to close its ageing Liddell coal-fired power station in NSW. It is also among the retailers forced down to Canberra in recent months to be grilled on customer discounting practices.
Ms Schott’s comments also come as risks are rising in Victoria and Queensland that governments will intervene to regulate or control retail prices to try to rein in prices.
The surge in AGL’s share price, to a record $28.44 in April, was brought to a halt by worries about mounting regulatory risks. The shares closed at $25.30 on Friday.
In Queensland, where AGL has a major retail presence, the Palaszczuk government has charged the Queensland Competition Authority to monitor retailers’ pricing on a quarterly basis and has reserved the right to intervene if necessary. The QCA is studying the bills paid by households in the deregulated market in the state’s south-east, where price controls were scrapped in mid-2016, and comparing them with the regulated market in regional and rural areas.