Billed as an “exciting plan to lower power prices using the co-operative model of community electricity trusts,” the policy was unveiled on Tuesday ahead of the March 17 state election.
It follows a battery of energy policy promises from Jay Weatherill’s Labor Party, including plans to boost the state renewables target to 75 per cent, to introduce an energy storage target, and to adopt nation-leading electric vehicle incentives.
The SA Liberal Party has been less ambitious, but in October last year promised $100 million in grants to help homes to buy and install battery storage.
The SA BEST policy proposal gives form to one of Xenophon’s most favoured campaign slogans, which promised to give power back to the South Australian people.
To be named the Community Electricity Trust of SA (cETSA), the co-operative retailer would be made up of 50,000 lower-income households and up to 5000 small businesses, and power prices for those members would come down by 20 per cent.
The retailer would also be able to tender to develop 150MW of new renewable energy generation.
“The co-operative (energy) model has an internationally proven track record for delivering services,” said Business Council of Cooperatives and Mutuals CEO Melina Morrison.
“(It) is already being deployed in countries around the world, including the USA, Germany and Denmark,” she said.
“Nick Xenophon has been a long-time champion of co-operative and mutual enterprises – the Business Council of Co-operatives and Mutuals is confident this won’t be the last creative solution to SA’s problems using the co-op and mutual model from SA BEST.”