The consumer watchdog says the sale of AGL’s ageing Liddell coal-fired power station would in the interests of consumers.

The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission says while it cannot force AGL to sell the Hunter Valley plant, the company AGL shouldn’t ignore the interest by Chinese conglomerate Shandong Ruyi, Alinta Energy and Delta Electricity.

‘It is clearly pro-competitive and good for consumers if one of those companies gets hold of Liddell,’ ACCC chairman Rod Sims told The Australian on Friday.

He told the media outlet AGL had a history of pursuing its business interests without considering what was best for the public.

AGL this week came under pressure from Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who said it was ‘manifestly in the public’s interest’ for the energy giant to keep the Liddell generator running beyond its planned 2022 closure.

Mr Turnbull said AGL should do the right thing by its customers, the community and shareholders and ‘either keep this plant going for another four or five years or sell it to somebody who is prepared to do so’.

AGL wants to keep Liddell while it transitions to new power sources.

It has said pressure from the Turnbull government to sell the plant amounted to market interference.

The price tag for the sale of Liddell could amount to $1 billion.