Senator Milne’s motion calls for an independent body to be appointed by the Federal Government to investigate electricity network prices, and also investigate whether homes and businesses with rooftop solar are being financially disadvantaged by network companies.

This inquiry will uncover whether this infrastructure was really needed or whether the system is being used by electricity companies as a money spinner.

Text of motion

Referred to the Environment and Communications References Committee for inquiry and report by March 2015:

(a) the manner in which electricity network companies have presented information to the Australian Energy Regulator (AER), and whether they have misled the AER in relation to:

  • (i) their weighted average costs of capital,
  • (ii) the necessity for the infrastructure proposed,
  • (iii) their regulated asset valuations, and
  • (iv) actual interest rates claimed against actual borrowing costs;

(b) How electricity companies including State Government owned electricity companies such as Energex have calculated the weighted average cost of capital and how this measure has changed over time;

(c) Where anomalies are identified in relation to price structuring or allegations of price rorting by electricity companies including State Government owned electricity companies such as Energex are raised, that these matters are investigated by a national independent body created by the Federal Government with the required powers and reach to investigate and prosecute where necessary;

(d) to ascertain whether state-owned network companies have prioritised their focus on future privatisation proceeds above the interests of energy users;

(e) whether the arrangements for the regulation of the cost of capital are delivering allowed rates of return above the actual cost of capital;

(f) whether the AER has actively pursued lowest-cost outcomes for energy consumers;

(g) whether network monopolies should have the right to recover historic overspending that has delivered unwanted and unused infrastructure;

(h) how the regulatory structure and system could be improved;

  • (i) whether the arrangements for the connection and pricing of network services is discriminating against households and businesses that are involved in their own electricity production;

(j) whether the current system provides adequate oversight of electricity network companies; and

(k) any other related matter.

Votes Passed by a small majority

Nobody rebelled against their party.

Party Votes
Australian Greens (100% turnout) 10 Yes 0 No
Richard Di Natale Victoria Yes
Sarah Hanson-Young SA Yes
Scott Ludlam WA Yes
Christine Milne Tasmania Yes
Lee Rhiannon NSW Yes
Janet Rice Victoria Yes
Rachel Siewert WA Yes
Larissa Waters Queensland Yes
Peter Whish-Wilson Tasmania Yes
Penny Wright SA Yes
Australian Labor Party (79% turnout) 19 Yes 0 No
Joe Bullock WA Yes
Doug Cameron NSW Yes
Kim Carr Victoria Yes
Jacinta Collins Victoria Yes
Stephen Conroy Victoria Yes
Sam Dastyari NSW Yes
Alex Gallacher SA Yes
Chris Ketter Queensland Yes
Joe Ludwig Queensland Yes
Kate Lundy ACT Yes
Anne McEwen SA Yes
Jan McLucas Queensland Yes
Claire Moore Queensland Yes
Deborah O'Neill NSW Yes
Nova Peris NT Yes
Helen Polley Tasmania Yes
Glenn Sterle WA Yes
Anne Urquhart Tasmania Yes
Penny Wong SA Yes
Catryna Bilyk Tasmania Absent
Carol Brown Tasmania Absent
John Faulkner NSW Absent
Sue Lines WA Absent
Lisa Singh Tasmania Absent
Ricky Muir Victoria Australian Motoring Enthusiast Party Yes
Nigel Scullion NT Country Liberal Party No
John Madigan Victoria Democratic Labor Party Yes
Gavin Marshall Victoria Deputy President Absent
Bob Day SA Family First Party No
Nick Xenophon SA Independent Yes
John Madigan Victoria Independent Absent
David Leyonhjelm NSW Liberal Democratic Party Yes
Liberal National Party (100% turnout) 0 Yes 2 No
Matthew Canavan Queensland No
James McGrath Queensland No
Liberal Party (80% turnout) 0 Yes 20 No
Christopher Back WA No
Cory Bernardi SA No
Simon Birmingham SA No
David Bushby Tasmania No
Michaelia Cash WA No
Richard Colbeck Tasmania No
Sean Edwards SA No
David Fawcett SA No
Concetta Fierravanti-Wells NSW No
Mitch Fifield Victoria No
David Johnston WA No
Ian Macdonald Queensland No
Marise Payne NSW No
Linda Reynolds WA No
Michael Ronaldson Victoria No
Anne Ruston SA No
Scott Ryan Victoria No
Zed Seselja ACT No
Arthur Sinodinos NSW No
Dean Smith WA No
Eric Abetz Tasmania Absent
George Brandis Queensland Absent
Mathias Cormann WA Absent
Bill Heffernan NSW Absent
Brett Mason Queensland Absent
National Party (100% turnout) 0 Yes 4 No
Bridget McKenzie Victoria No
Fiona Nash NSW No
Barry O'Sullivan Queensland No
John Williams NSW No
Nick Xenophon SA Nick Xenophon Team Absent
Palmer United Party (100% turnout) 3 Yes 0 No
Jacqui Lambie Tasmania Yes
Glenn Lazarus Queensland Yes
Dio Wang WA Yes
Stephen Parry Tasmania President Absent
Totals (84% turnout) 36 Yes – 28 No