Billionaire Mike Cannon-Brookes warns of rising utility bill
Mike Cannon-Brookes warns Australians that electricity costs would skyrocket unless more renewable energy sources like wind and solar farms are built.
‘Your energy bill is set to go up dramatically, sadly,’ said Atlassian founder and climate campaigner Paul Hawken on Wednesday’s Today show.
Wholesale power costs have quadrupled since last year owing to rising coal and gas prices and a global energy shortage.
Consumers should expect price increases in July when providers typically raise rates.
The Reserve Bank raised interest rates on Tuesday to combat rising inflation, increasing monthly mortgage payments by an average of $80.
The move comes three weeks before the May 21 election, and comes after Prime Minister Scott Morrison warned rates will rise under Labor.
The energy price surge, according to Mr. Cannon-Brookes, has two basic causes.
We have so much fossil fuel-generated energy in our system that the primary reason is pricing. ‘It will raise your bill.’
‘Secondly, our coal-fired power plants are unreliable. We see it now.
‘The faster we decarbonize Australia to renewables, the lower your bill will be, helping with your daily costs.’
Mr. Cannon-Brookes bought a big stake in AGL to pressure them to decrease carbon emissions.
He opposes a plan to split the corporation into two distinct organizations, citing environmental concerns.
‘Renewables are our cheapest energy source. ‘They have been for a while.’
‘They are becoming cheaper. So the more we create, the cheaper they get.
If fossil fuel facilities remain in our system, it will cause instability and increase your utility price as a customer.
In his new role as AGL Energy’s largest shareholder, Mike Cannon-Brookes claimed the present board’s intention to divide the firm would be bad for investors, employees, and the environment.
His call for faster renewable energy generation comes amid a tight election where climate politics is felt by communities afflicted by more extreme floods, storms, and bushfires.
The billionaire envisions AGL Energy leading Australia’s quick transition to renewables.
‘It’s a risk. No philanthropic group is doing it. My investment group does it,’ he said.
I’m not wasting $650 million.
The AGL Energy board said in a statement to the ASX on Tuesday that the demerger is in the best interests of all shareholders.
By becoming the largest shareholder and mobilizing others, the Atlassian co-founder hoped to influence AGL Energy’s destiny.
A vital time, said Mr. Cannon-Brookes.
« It has a bright future, but it won’t get there by demerging.
His involvement comes after AGL wrote to shareholders urging them to support the board’s plan to separate the firm into an energy retailer and a coal-fired power generator.
The new businesses will aim to achieve net-zero emissions by 2040 and 2047, which is too late for the largest stakeholder.
As part of a responsible transition of Australia’s energy system,’ AGL plans to split by June 30.
For the demerger to go through, 75% of shareholders must vote yes on June 15.
The superannuation fund Hesta, which owns 0.36 percent of the company, opposes the demerger.
In an interview with AAP, Hesta CEO Debby Blakey said the proposed AGL demerger won’t achieve emissions reductions and coal asset closures in line with the Paris Agreement.
Mike Cannon-Brookes says many small and large shareholders are worried but the board has only one option.
‘There’s only one candidate, one box, put a number in a box,’ he said.
‘The way the company has set it up, saying there is no other option, frustrates many shareholders.’
On being asked if it was embarrassing that a tech billionaire was leading on emissions, Scott Morrison said the Coalition had a practical plan for net-zero by 2050.
‘If you have unbalanced emissions reduction targets, then the price of everything goes up,’ he told reporters.
Mike Cannon-Brookes has launched a website urging shareholders to oppose the demerger.
The board rejected his takeover bid earlier this year, so the timing is driven by demerger.
‘I only care about this vote,’ he said.
There is another campaign, but I haven’t given it much thought.