Irrigators urge energy ministers to act on electricity pricing
Australia’s state and territory energy ministers have a chance to boost regional economies and return farming businesses to profitability by addressing the sky-rocketing cost of electricity when they meet in Canberra today.
“Irrigated agricultural industries have been urging governments to act to rein in out of control electricity prices and now is the time for the excuses to stop and the action to start,” CANEGROWERS CEO Dan Galligan said.
“Our members have seen their electricity costs go up 120% since 1 July 2007 and the latest rise of 12.3% in July has left many angry and in despair.
“We have growers opening power bills they cannot afford to pay without borrowing money. They are switching their pumps off and losing vital productivity and profits, costing their rural communities income.
“This situation is wrong and unnecessary. The current method for setting prices is broken.
“It is failing the Australian economy, threatening the viability and international competitiveness of irrigated agriculture and putting jobs in regional communities at risk.”
CANEGROWERS is calling for three clear actions:
- Commit to no more price rises and instead implement pricing policies to immediately push down the cost of electricity,
- Restructure and streamline electricity providers, so that costs can be reduced, and
- Introduce fairly priced off-peak rates and industry-specific tariffs.
“Current tariff charges are neither cost-reflective nor efficient but no one appears to be listening to the concerns of users who left with no option but to seek alternative sources of energy to remain profitable. This will only increase the costs further for those left on the grid.
“While this is a complex issue, we are sick of the buck passing and look to the meeting of energy ministers to provide some solutions,” Mr Galligan said.