Power prices for regional Queensland households are set to remain stable, with the release today of the Queensland Competition Authority (QCA) draft decision on regulated retail electricity prices in 2016-17.
Energy Minister Mark Bailey encouraged stakeholders to review the draft decision and provide feedback before April 20, 2016 through the QCA website www.qca.org.au. The final decision will be published byMay 31, with prices to apply from 1 July 2016.
Mr Bailey said the draft decision showed typical residential bills would rise 0.6% annually, less than half the current rate of inflation.
“Nobody likes a price rise but this latest draft decision on household bills reflects the price stabilisation that the Palaszczuk Government has been able to achieve, after the 43% increases seen under the former LNP Government,” he said.
“This draft decision shows that those elements of the bill that the Government can impact are under control – particularly the network costs.
“As economic activity increases, so does power consumption which has an impact on generation costs.
“Last year the Palaszczuk Government intervened to direct Energex and Ergon to not appeal the Australian Energy Regulator’s decision to curb network costs, and this is helping keep prices stable.
“That direction would not have been possible if our power assets had been sold off like the LNP proposed, and would still do given the chance.”
Mr Bailey said that the Palaszczuk Government will continue to subsidise regional Queensland electricity prices, with over $500 million each year to ensure that 700,000 customers across regional Queensland pay a similar amount for their electricity to those in South East Queensland.
“We use the dividends we receive from our publicly owned power companies to fund those subsidies for regional Queenslanders – something else that’s only possible because we kept our assets in public hands,” he said.
“If our energy providers had been sold off to the private sector, it would have taken control of those businesses away from the Government and placed it into the hands of those whose number one goal was to protect profits, not consumers.”
Mr Bailey said the decision to lock in electricity price stabilisation is also assisting to offset higher electricity generation prices for small businesses.
“Under the LNP in 2013-14 small businesses experienced an increase of 17.4%. This year the draft decision indicates a rise of 9.3%,” he said.
“As the QCA notes, the increase in electricity generation costs that contributes to this rise reflects increased economic activity in Queensland, as well as uncertainty around the Federal Government’s Renewable Energy Target.”