Labor coy on energy price royal commission

Matt Coughlan
Consumer prices are all that matter in the energy debate, Malcolm Turnbull says

Labor has put the onus on power companies and the Turnbull government to prove a royal commission into skyrocketing energy costs is unnecessary.

Opposition frontbencher Jim Chalmers says Labor is yet to formally consider the push by Greens and coalition backbenchers for a major inquiry into the energy sector.

"It's up to the companies and the government to show a royal commission isn't necessary," Mr Chalmers told Sky News on Monday.

"First things first, we need a settled energy policy in this country we won't get that while we have this bar-room brawl between Malcolm Turnbull and Tony Abbott."

There's tension within the coalition partyroom over the Turnbull government's national energy guarantee, which the prime minister says will bring prices down while ensuring reliability and cutting emissions.

Mr Turnbull has rejected calls for an energy royal commission, promising an "illuminating" Australian Competition and Consumer Commission report will be released this week.

Assistant minister Zed Seselja said he would wait and see if a another inquiry was necessary after the ACCC's findings.

He said he was focused on driving prices down through boosting supply and forcing companies to offer households and businesses better deals.

"The type of inquiry is not something I'd get hung up on, what I want to see is maximum pressure put on (retailers)," Senator Seselja told Sky News.

He's confident Mr Turnbull and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg will get enough internal support to get the government's energy plan through the partyroom.

Greens energy spokesman Adam Bandt says the Greens will seek to introduce a bill setting up a commission of inquiry into power prices when parliament returns.

Coalition MPs, including former deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce, have urged Mr Turnbull to threaten power companies with a royal commission unless they cut prices.

Mr Bandt said the Greens would negotiate with Labor and coalition backbenchers to vote for a commission of inquiry in parliament.