Queenslanders have been shielded from the significant electricity price increases across the country because of the Palaszczuk Government’s recent intervention as part of the $1.16 billion Powering Queensland Plan.
Energy Minister Mark Bailey said the Queensland Competition Authority’s new determination had locked in the Government’s decision to invest $770 million as a cost of living measure to slash the expected electricity price increases by more than half.
“Under the QCA’s revised figures, the household bill increase in regional Queensland will be 3.3 per cent, a saving of $56 compared to the original QCA outcome of 7.1 per cent,” he said.
“Compare this to other states and Queenslanders are significantly better off, with electricity users in Victoria, New South Wales, the ACT and South Australia facing increases of between 10 and 20 per cent.
“In its original determination the QCA advised that rising wholesale energy costs across the National Electricity Market due to factors like the Hazelwood power station closure in Victoria and the extreme heatwaves and record demand over summer had led to an increase in the price of electricity in Queensland.
“While these issues are not specific to Queensland, we immediately intervened to protect Queensland consumers from the impact.
“A typical small business will now see an increase of just 4.1 per cent, a saving of $99, farmers and irrigators will also see their price increase halved to 4.5 to 5.1 per cent.
“Large businesses across regional Queensland will see a saving between $652 and $3,822 depending on the size of the business.”
Mr Bailey said South East Queensland consumers are part of a deregulated market where price changes vary by retailer to retailer.
“I have therefore written to south east Queensland retailers outlining my very clear expectation that these network cost savings are passed through in full to their customers,” Mr Bailey said.
“The absolute price changes in south east Queensland will vary from retailer to retailer – that is the nature of a competitive market. Network costs are only one component of the bill, and retailers face different costs for purchasing and retailing energy.
“These are default ‘standing offer’ prices, and independent research suggests customers in SEQ can save $100-400 by switching from a standing offer to a market offer.
“I will be naming and shaming those who don’t pass this saving on and urging their customers to shop around for a better deal if they do not agree with their retailer’s price decisions.”
Mr Bailey said it was the Palaszczuk Government that backs Queenslanders and would not return to the double digit increases under the previous LNP government.
“The Palaszczuk Government’s Powering Queensland Plan means prices for typical residential households will have risen by just 1.9 per cent per year on average over the last three years, compared to 43 per cent inflicted over the full term of the previous government.
“As part of our commitment to stabilising electricity prices, the Government is also returning Stanwell’s Swanbank E power station to service to increase supply and reduce volatility in the Queensland wholesale market. We have also directed Stanwell Corporation to find ways to reduce wholesale electricity prices.
“These interventions have had an immediate impact on the market, with forward wholesale prices for 2018 falling by 10 per cent in the 24 hours after the announcement.
“These actions are only possible because of the Palaszczuk Government’s ongoing ownership of energy businesses on behalf of the people of Queensland.
“We remain committed to reducing the pressure of increased cost of living to Queenslanders, including through stabilising their electricity bills.”