Tony Abbott says his policy to repeal the carbon tax would ''instantly'' reduce household electricity bills by 10 per cent but the Minister for Climate Change, Greg Combet, says this, like ''everything'' the Coalition leader has said about climate change, is ''complete bullshit''.
And energy retailers are warning the price reduction would not be ''instant'' but would take some time, even after the lengthy process required to repeal the tax with a double dissolution election.
''If the carbon price was repealed, customers would not see an instant decrease in their energy bills,'' a spokeswoman for the Electricity Retailers Association said. ''Legislative changes and regulatory reviews would have to take place prior to changes in the price. Retailers would then need to review their pricing and notify customers.
''With customers on different types of contracts, this would impact customers' bills differently. The carbon component of the wholesale price, which retailers pass on to customers, involves energy from a range of sources – such as coal, gas, hydro and wind – all with different carbon intensities.''
The Coalition spokesman on climate, Greg Hunt, on Friday promised the carbon tax could be repealed within six months of a Coalition victory.
''If the ALP loses the election, it is almost inconceivable that it would ignore such a mandate … No matter what they say now, I expect that a defeated ALP under a new leader would not block the repeal of the carbon tax. Otherwise they would face an immediate double dissolution,'' he said.
But Mr Combet said Mr Abbott's repeal pledge, like ''everything he has said about this issue, to be frank … has been complete bullshit. Is he really going to a double dissolution election on this issue?''
If Labor sticks by its pledge never to vote for a repeal, legal advice to industry and environmental groups suggests a double dissolution election could take a lot longer than the Coalition's six-month time frame.