Price caps on gas will be extended until the middle of 2025 under a proposed code of conduct for the energy sector.
The price cap of $12 per gigajoule was due to expire at the end of the year, but the government has proposed extending the measure until July 1, 2025.
The last round of consultation on the government’s code for gas suppliers will begin on Wednesday before the code is finalised by the end of the financial year.
Under the proposed code, small gas producers would be exempt from the price cap if they supply only the domestic market.
Exemptions from the price cap would also be dependent on court-enforceable supply commitments that satisfied the consumer watchdog.
Energy Minister Chris Bowen said the code of conduct would ensure high gas costs would not return for consumers following the end of the price cap.
“This is all about cutting the link between very volatile international gas prices, and the prices Australian industries and households pay for Australian gas,” he told ABC Radio on Wednesday.
“It means Australian industries and households get access to Australian gas that’s under Australian soil and Australian waters at a reasonable price.”
Talks have already been held with large industrial gas users about what the code would look like.
Mr Bowen said it was time to expand the consultation to ensure the right balance was struck.
“What we are seeking to do is increase the supply of gas into the domestic market, particularly in some of the years in which we’re facing projected shortfalls like 2027,” he said.
“(The code) strikes a good balance, but we want to see what the broader industry and Australian community think.”
A review of the code would also take place within two years of it coming into effect to make sure it remained fit for purpose.
The initial price caps were enforced following spiralling gas and energy prices in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022.
Mr Bowen said the price caps would take the sting out of the rising power costs.
“The Australian Energy Regulator was very clear with us, that price rises we would have been seeing now would have had a five in front of it, a 50 per cent or so price rise, absent of intervention,” he said.
“We intervened, there will still be price rises, but nowhere near as big as it would have been.”
Consultation on the gas code will be open until May 12.
(Australian Associated Press)