• Max Bradford

Energy Minister Max Bradford today welcomed the Southpower, United Electricity and Enerco energy retailing merger as a "very healthy sign for the Coalition Government's electricity reforms".

"This afternoon's announcement shows that innovative companies that seize the opportunities of the new competitive environment, created by the electricity reforms, will lead the way to lower power prices," Mr Bradford said.

"This is a case of first up, best dressed," he said.

"The companies are promising lower power prices, which will be warmly welcomed by consumers."

Mr Bradford said he had received advice this afternoon which indicates the companies will be going ahead with ownership separation of the lines and retail parts of their businesses, and divest the lines when the Electricity Industry Reform Bill becomes law.

"This is consistent with the Government's electricity reforms, and the companies will be aware of this requirement," Mr Bradford said.