'People will die due to renewables': Turnbull government MP Craig Kelly

Liberal MP Craig Kelly in Parliament. Photo: Andrew Meares
Liberal MP Craig Kelly in Parliament. Photo: Andrew Meares

Australians will die because of high power bills driven by renewable energy, the chair of the Coalition's climate committee is warning.

Liberal backbencher Craig Kelly believes some people cannot afford to heat their homes this winter.

"People will die," he told ABC radio on Thursday.

Mr Kelly cited recent reports that one-in-four Australian households this winter will be frightened to turn on the heater due to high power prices.

He also said the World Health Organisation has made it clear that winter mortality rates increase if people can't afford to heat their homes.

"People will die."

Liberal backbencher Craig Kelly

Figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showing the number of extra deaths in winter haven't been released for the last couple of years.

"And when they are, we'll be able to put a number on it," he said.

Mr Kelly put his warning down to government policies that push up the price of electricity.

"There (is) $3 billion this year being paid in subsidies for renewable energy," he said.

Fairfax Media reported on Thursday new research showing gas, not high renewable energy prices, are responsible for the latest outsized increase in electricity prices.

From July 1, Sydney prices climbed 15 to 20 per cent, Adelaide prices 16 to 20 per cent, and Canberra prices 19 per cent. Melbourne prices rise on January 1. After introduction of the carbon tax in 2012, prices jumped 19.3 per cent in Sydney and 23 per cent in Melbourne.

Labor's energy spokesman Mark Butler accused Mr Kelly of scaremongering.

"This is another appalling intervention, not just by a backbencher, but by the chair of the coalition's energy policy committee."

Mr Butler conceded households and businesses are facing high power and gas bills, but he put that down to "policy paralysis" at the national level.

Mr Kelly's comments come ahead of a meeting of state and federal energy ministers in Brisbane on Friday to discuss recommendations for change from Chief Scientist, professor Alan Finkel.

- With AAP

The story, 'People will die due to renewables': Turnbull government MP Craig Kelly, first appeared on the Sydney Morning Herald.