CANEGROWERS is seeking a 2019 Election commitment that a blueprint laid out by Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to fix electricity prices and restore Australia’s competitive advantage will be implemented in full by the incoming Federal Government.
“The recommendations from the ACCC Retail Electricity Pricing Inquiry have been languishing on a shelf for almost a year,” CANEGROWERS CEO Dan Galligan said. “The 56 recommendations are directed at removing unnecessary costs for electricity users – something CANEGROWERS members have been crying out for.
“What we need to see and hear now is the political will to pull electricity generators and networks into line.
“The cost of generating electricity is less than 8c/kWh and the cost of delivering it through the powerline network is also less than 8c/kWh – so prices for everyone should be capped at 16c/kWh (cents per kilowatt hour).”
CANEGROWERS is also calling for the development of a Food and Fibre tariff for agricultural electricity users to reflect the fact that they are generally on uncongested parts of the network.
“CANEGROWERS objective is to ensure electricity prices are set in a way that provides performance incentives for all in the supply chain to efficiently and effectively deliver electricity to all customers,” Mr Galligan said. “That is not happening now.
“If the system were efficient and effective, prices would be lower - the ACCC recommendations are the road map to get us there.”
As well as calling for the implementation of the ACCC recommendations, the National Farmers’ Federation 2019 Federal Election Priorities Unlocking Innovation platform asks for a commitment to an annual review of how energy policy is impacting on electricity prices and agricultural competitiveness.
“After seeing their electricity bills rise 130% over the past decade, the cost of pumping irrigation water is a serious burden on the profitability of sugarcane farms that irrigate and intensive agriculture across the country,” Mr Galligan said. “In turn that impacts the viability of their local communities.
“What we are seeing now is our innovative and resilient growers taking matters into their own hands and moving to self-generation by installing solar arrays and diesel generators.
“As an NFF member, CANEGROWERS is backing its call for government to support agriculture’s transition to renewables through policy which supports decentralisation and off-grid energy production.
“Farmers, like every valuable business in the economy, need policy certainty and this election is the time for Australia to take the step, use the plan that has been drawn up by the ACCC, and ensure we have affordable, reliable and secure energy.”