Government proves it could make power prices fairer

Government proves it could make power prices fairer
May 31 2017

Government proves it could make power prices fairer

The Queensland Government has confirmed today that it has the power to curb the soaring cost of electricity if it wanted to.

“The Palaszczuk Government intervention today to reduce the outrageous regulated retail power price rises announced by the Queensland Competition Authority has exposed what it has denied for years – controlling electricity costs in Queensland is within State Government control,” Dan Galligan, CEO of sugarcane farming organisation CANEGROWERS, said.

“Even with this government intervention, power prices are unsustainably and unnecessarily high for many Queenslanders, not least of which are our members who irrigate their crops.

“The Premier’s intervention means power prices paid by irrigators will increase by 5% from 1 July.  It means electricity costs for farmers who grow food and fibre for Australians and export markets have gone up more than 130% since the pricing system changed nine years ago.

“At the same time, energy companies have been racking up profits and Queensland Governments have been skimming them off – up to $1.3 billion a year straight to State Treasury from the pockets of Queensland householders and businesses.

“Today’s announcement by the State Government has exposed the power it has in the setting of electricity prices. It could have acted before now, to spare Queenslanders the bill pain many have been feeling.”

CANEGROWERS has been urging an overhaul of the electricity pricing system for nearly five years.

“For too long, the electricity distribution and retail companies have been cash cows of government, aided and abetted by a system that allows inefficient and inaccurate costings to be built into pricing mechanisms,” Mr Galligan said. 

“The excesses of this hidden electricity tax on Queenslanders have become so large that the QCA’s proposed prices are no longer palatable, even to the Queensland Government.” 

In February CANEGROWERS exposed Ergon’s use of flawed ‘evidence’ about network capacity and demand in its bid to the Australian Energy Regulator for increased prices.

“With Chief Scientist Dr Alan Finkel due to release his final Report on the Australian Electricity Market soon, CANEGROWERS is calling for nothing short of a complete overhaul,” Mr Galligan said.

“The review must expose where the decisions are made and why, cut out the waste and inaccurate accounting and make sure electricity pricing is a fair cost for a service delivered.”