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Calls to investigate SA power industry

AAP logoAAP 18/08/2016 By Marnie Banger

South Australia's troubled electricity industry must be laid bare through an independent inquiry, eight major organisations in the state say.

The group, led by Business SA, has written to state Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis stressing their concern about high power prices and supply issues in the state as well as calling for an inquiry.

"South Australia's key advocacy organisations are deeply concerned about the impact high wholesale prices are having on the community and economy," the letter says.

"We are also concerned about predicted reliability shortfalls in South Australia if we cannot access sufficient 'baseload' generation, whether that be locally or through the national electricity market.

"There is an imperative to address this issue and (we) are willing to provide you any assistance as we strive towards a prosperous South Australia."

The call comes ahead of a national meeting led by federal energy minister Josh Frydenberg on Friday about reforming the national electricity market.

Amid that process, SA Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young says it's important to hold the big retailers to account and has called for a senate inquiry into price gouging.

"I'm extremely concerned and angered to hear that we have big companies price gouging consumers here in South Australia," Senator Hanson-Young said on Thursday.

"When you see three or four big companies manipulating the market for their own profit while South Australians are struggling to pay their power bills, it's clear that something has to be done."

In July, major businesses in SA warned the state government of possible shutdowns because of high energy prices, forcing state Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis to fire up a previously mothballed power station in Adelaide.

Mr Koutsantonis had said a "confluence of remarkable events" led to the peak prices, including a shortage of electricity supplied to SA through an interconnector with Victoria and bad weather.

He also claimed it was another failure of the "so called national energy market".

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