Power to grow our industry

Power to grow our industry

2 July 2021

The start of July is an important time for sugarcane growers who use electricity to irrigate and CANEGROWERS is able to help with the important task of selecting the right Ergon tariff for your farm business.

Over the past decade, sugarcane growers have seen electricity costs rise more than 130%, threatening farm productivity and industry competitiveness. At the same time, Ergon, Energex and Powerlink have been earning record profits and contributing around a billion dollars a year to the Queensland Government.

CANEGROWERS believes electricity prices for irrigation should be capped at 16c/kWh (being 8c/kWh for the network and 8c/kWh for the electrons) including the associated retail charges.

I am pleased to report that progress is being made! Following representations from CANEGROWERS and the collaboration of CANEGROWERS members during a trial, a control load tariff for irrigators is now available as a standard tariff. Supplies under this tariff may experience the occasional interruption but it offers significant cost benefits.

It’s called T34 and is one of the tariffs confirmed in the 2021-2022 pricing options from Ergon.

From 1 July, T34 along with a suite of new small business tariffs (T20, T22A, T24, T24A or T24B) will be available.  Depending on when you irrigate and how much electricity is used to pump water to your cane crop, you may be able to secure cost savings too by switching to one of these new tariffs.

If you irrigate, it is definitely worth looking closely at the options. Reading the fine print of your tariff may be complicated but it is important.

CANEGROWERS members can find some detailed analysis of the tariffs on offer on the Member Resources page of the CANEGROWERS website. There’s a selection tool which, if you put your own pump and electricity usage information in, will give you an indication of the tariff which may be best option for you. Your local CANEGROWERS office is there to help you as well.

It is especially important to consider your tariff selection because a number of farm tariffs which irrigators have traditionally used ceased to be available on 30 June. While the State Government is offering an automatic rebate to minimise bill shock growers on the traditional tariffs may face in moving to one of the new small business tariffs, not everyone will be eligible. 

Tackling electricity sector reform is complicated. At every opportunity, CANEGROWERS is making submissions, appearing at hearings and putting forward the case for change.

CANEGROWERS campaigns for an electricity generation and distribution system that efficiently, sustainably and affordably delivers electricity because competitively priced electricity promotes the growth and development of irrigated agriculture and secures jobs in regional communities.