The Palaszczuk Government will ensure Queenslanders’ power bills are pegged to average inflation over the next two years and cut $50 a year from bills as part of a $2 billion Affordable Energy Plan to provide cost of living relief.
The move will see all the dividends from Queensland’s publicly-owned electricity assets reinvested in an all-out attack on affordability, while Queenslanders wait for the Prime Minister’s proposed National Energy Guarantee.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the decision was part of a comprehensive package of measures to tackle the challenge of electricity bills.
“Owning our power assets gives us a unique ability to reinvest all the dividends in making electricity more affordable, something other states that have sold off their generators, poles and wires cannot do,” the Premier said.
“In June, we reinvested $770 million in dividends to keep average household price rises to 3.3% this year – lower than any other mainland State in the National Electricity Market, some of which have seen prices increase by up to 20%.
“That helps Queenslanders, but I know the price of power is hurting a lot of families. That’s why we are doing more.
“Our Plan will save Queenslanders – on their bills and on their electricity use.”
The Premier said the Affordable Energy Plan will ensure typical Queensland households and small businesses will see no increase in their power bills above average inflation over the next two years.
“We look forward to seeing the detail of Malcolm Turnbull’s National Energy Guarantee, but it won’t start delivering promised savings until two years from now.
“We won’t wait – we will deliver real, measurable savings to Queenslanders.”
“While we have limited price increases, the pain from the 43% increase under the LNP has hurt households and businesses.”
The Affordable Energy Plan features $300 million of new initiatives from 1 January 2018 including:
- Rebates of up to $300 to purchase an energy efficient fridge, washing machines or air conditioner. This provides bill savings of up to $50 a year for an energy efficient washing machine or fridge or $135 a year for an air conditioner. Up to 100,000 Queensland households are expected to take up the offer. ($20 million)
- An Asset Ownership Dividend of $50 a year for every household bill over the next two years, starting from January 2018 and evident on bills from the second quarter of 2018. ($200 million)
- Annual discounts for regional Ergon customers of $75 for households and $120 for small businesses that take up monthly billing options. 200,000 regional households are expected to initially take up this offer. ($15 million)
- Another 4000 regional households can save up to $200 through the expansion of the Energy Savvy program. ($4 million)
- Support for primary producers by delivering an additional 200 energy audits to agricultural customers through an expanded Energy Savers Plus program in partnership with the Queensland Farmers’ Federation, as well as providing a 50% co-contribution (up to $20,000) to implement audit recommendations. ($10 million)
- Support for Queensland jobs and industry by providing energy audits for large customers including manufacturers, with a 50% co-contribution to implement recommendations (up to $250,000 per customer). This is expected to deliver savings of 10% to 40% for large industrial customers. ($10 million)
- Another $41 million in affordability additional measures.
In addition, the Premier said she would be delivering an ultimatum to electricity retailers this week – pass on the full savings that flow from public ownership of Queensland electricity assets, or come face to face with a publicly-owned electricity retailer that will undercut them.
“With our fleet of young and efficient coal and gas-fired generators and adding large-scale solar, we’re producing the cheapest and most reliable wholesale electricity in mainland Australia.
“The consumer watchdog is clear – some retailers in the South-East are taking Queenslanders for a ride,” the Premier said.
“I will be calling South-East Queensland energy retailers in for a meeting this week.
“If they don’t immediately agree to pass on savings in full, we will go back into the retail market.
“We’ve already seen the great deals being offered by Alinta in conjunction with Queensland-owned generator CS Energy.
“Alinta was just a start. I’m prepared to re-enter the retail market. We can do it and only Queensland can do it — we own power stations, poles and wires.
“The next move is up to the retailers – and the clock is ticking.
Energy Minister Mark Bailey said the suite of measures demonstrated the Government’s commitment to keep building on the work done through the $1.16 billion Powering Queensland Plan announced in June.
“When we launched the Powering Queensland Plan, wholesale prices dropped overnight and have stayed down,” Minister Bailey said.
“Those lower prices should be passed on to consumers.
“Queenslanders shouldn’t be paying higher prices because of the failure of privatisation and generation shortfalls in other States.
“That’s why we are calling for a rewrite of the rules of the broken National Electricity Market.”
The Palaszczuk Government energy saving tips at www.dews.qld.gov.au/electricit