Let’s ramp up support for renewables – switch your power now
9:13 PM (2 minutes ago)
Today the Abbott Government cut renewable power to a potential 1.36 million households at the bidding of Australia’s three biggest, dirty energy companies. Switch now to fight back.
Today the Renewable Energy Target (RET) has been slashed by a government intent on slowing down Australia’s march towards a greener and cleaner future — but the fight’s not over until you say it is. After a year of stalling and fierce lobbying by Australia’s three biggest energy companies — AGL, EnergyAustralia and Origin, the Abbott Government has struck a deal with Labor to slash the RET by 9000 gigawatt-hours, breaking a clear pre-election promise to leave it untouched.
It may not seem like much, but in real terms that 9000 gigawatt-hours:
- is the equivalent of six times the capacity of the biggest wind farm in the Southern Hemisphere
- could have powered another 1.36 million average households with zero carbon emissions
- could have saved the equivalent of around 10 million tonnes of carbon dioxide and almost 50,000 tonnes of toxic substances from a coal-fired power plant
- is the same as taking 2 million cars off the road.1
And not only have the government cut the RET, but they have also insisted on including the burning of native timber under the new reduced target, a measure Labor has rejected, but one which could still pass into law with the backing of senate crossbenchers. Labor and the renewable energy industry have been forced to take this deal to try to kick start Australia’s renewable energy sector after 12 months which has seen investment fall a staggering 90%.2
Make no mistake, while Labor and the Clean Energy Council have had to compromise, today’s cut to the RET is a big win for the Dirty Three — AGL, EnergyAustralia and Origin, who all campaigned hard for the government to gut the RET or scrap it entirely.3 But here’s how we fight back. If large numbers of customers switch away from the Dirty Three — hurting their bottom line in the process — it sends a loud and powerful message that they will lose both public support and money until they change their policies to genuinely support a strong RET and clean energy future.
Right now, more than 70 per cent of us buy our electricity from one of the Dirty Three, effectively funding their investments in dirty coal power and coal seam gas through our choice of power company. The damage that dirty coal and coal seam gas are doing is extreme. A report from GetUp!, Environmental Justice Australia and Market Forces has revealed power stations operated by the Dirty Three spew out the same amount of carbon each year as 15 million cars on the road.4
By switching your energy supplier to Powershop you will be redirecting your money to a company that was ranked the greenest retailer in the country by Greenpeace, and is committed to only ever investing in renewables.
And you’ll likely get a better deal too, with Powershop named one of the cheapest electricity retailers in Victoria by the Victorian Government’s Essential Services Commission. It also has competitive prices in New South Wales and is aiming to be one of the cheapest retailers there too.5
GetUp members have taken to the streets with our allies for the RET, funded cut-through ads putting solar and wind jobs front-and-centre, and switched 10,000 customers away from the companies lobbying against renewables in Canberra. The Renewable Energy Target could have been cut all together or slashed much further but because of these actions and those of many other organisations we’ve helped stop the worst from happening.
More than 10,000 GetUp members have made the switch, and it’s already making the government and the dirty energy producers nervous. Earlier this month they took to the pages of The Australian to try and stop us in our tracks.6 And they have good reason to be worried. Leading investment analysts Credit Suisse and Citibank have reported that GetUp’s Better Power campaign could significantly impact both the reputation and the bottom line of the Dirty Three, reporting that switching just 30,000 AGL customers could cost the company $100 million.7
Just think, with AGL currently reviewing its coal seam gas operations,8 if 30,000 of us switch, it could force AGL out of the coal seam gas sector for good. And that’s just the start. The government has let us down, and the big energy companies have been using their size and lobbying power to hurt renewables — but together we can show them just how powerful we are.
Switch and make your voices heard,
James, Anthony and Lily, for the Better Power team
PS – Need more reasons to switch?
Better Power: Powershop is ranked highest in Greenpeace Australia’s Green Electricity Index – making it the greenest electricity retailer in Australia. It also offsets your power so it is 100% carbon neutral at no additional cost to you.
Cheaper Power: Powershop is rated one of the cheapest retailers in Victoria by the Victorian government’s Essential Services Commission. Its pricing in NSW is competitive with other providers and it is aiming to be one of the cheapest retailers in NSW too.
Fast and easy: Powershop’s online tool makes it so easy that you can switch in less than 5 minutes.
No risk: Powershop doesn’t lock you into a contract. And don’t worry if you’re under contract, Powershop will even cover your exit penalty fee (up to $75) on your behalf.
Grassroots renewables revolution: For each person that switches as part of the Better Power campaign, Powershop will make a fixed payment to GetUp’s campaigns to support renewables and kick start the move from dirty and polluting coal and coal seam gas to cleaner, cheaper renewable energy. So far GetUp has raised over $1 million to support these campaigns through Better Power.
 ‘Greenhouse Gas Emissions from a Typical Passenger Vehicle’, United States Environmental Protection Agency, May 2014.
 ‘Investment in large-scale renewable energy falls 90 per cent in 12 months, Bloomberg New Energy Finance report shows’, ABC, 14 April 2015.
 ‘AGL, Origin and EnergyAustralia’s ‘shame’ of self-interest’, Business Spectator, 18 August 2014.
 Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator, US Environmental Protection Agency; ‘The Truth About the “Dirty 3”, GetUp, Market Forces and Environmental Justice Australia, 15 April 2015; Based on National Pollutant Inventory data from 2008 to 2014.
 The Victorian government’s Essential Services Commission issued a report on electricity prices in the state in October 2014 which said: “taking into account all available discounts, the lowest overall prices were most commonly available from Powershop.” Victorian government’s Essential Services Commission Energy Retailers’ Comparative Performance Report – Pricing, October 2014.
 ‘Renewable energy push sees GetUp! land $1m windfall’, The Australian, 7 May 2015.
 Credit Suisse analysis, July 2014; Credit Suisse Research and Analytics, AGL Energy – I can see clearly now, 19 March 2015; Citi Research, 18 February 2015.
 ‘AGL to review coal seam gas business in wake of Gloucester toxic chemical leak controversy’, ABC, 19 February 2015.
GetUp is an independent, not-for-profit community campaigning group. We use new technology to empower Australians to have their say on important national issues. We receive no political party or government funding, and every campaign we run is entirely supported by voluntary donations. If you’d like to contribute to help fund GetUp’s work, please donate now! To unsubscribe from GetUp, please click here. Our team acknowledges that we meet and work on the land of the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation. We wish to pay respect to their Elders – past, present and future – and acknowledge the important role all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people continue to play within Australia and the GetUp community.
Authorised by Sam Mclean, Level 14, 338 Pitt Street, Sydney NSW 2000.