The Queensland Government is launching a $10 million energy program, with regional businesses being encouraged to join in an effort to decrease excessive power use.

Minister for Energy, Dr Anthony Lynham, said up to 30 regional businesses statewide would receive free energy audits and up to $250,000 in state funds to implement the audits’ energy-saving tips.

“This government is serious about reducing the impact of power prices on Queensland businesses,” Dr Lynham said.

“The independent Queensland Competition Authority (QCA) has been transitioning some large electricity users to business tariffs over the past six years, and this program helps them make that transition.

“This is a great opportunity for local businesses to get free expert advice and I’d encourage them to get on board.

“The Queensland Productivity Commission recommended that government help large energy users with this transition and this program is one element of this support.”

Under the program, energy experts work one-on-one with businesses to look at requirements of the new tariff they are transitioning to, then crunch the numbers on electricity usage and identify efficiencies.

Government and businesses then go dollar-for-dollar, up to a maximum of $250,000, to implement the measures recommended to save energy.

Ten businesses including sugar mills, manufacturing plants, farms and councils were selected to participate in the first round of the program in 2017. The businesses were Cairns, Toowoomba and Cassowary Coast Regional Councils; MSF Sugar, Queensland Sugar and Isis Central Sugar Mill; Howe Farming; YWAM Medical Ships Training in Townsville; Dobinsons Spring and Suspension, and Bundaberg Walkers Engineering.

Queensland Competition Authority (QCA) has been gradually phasing out legacy retail tariffs for businesses in regional Queensland because they are not based on the actual costs of supplying electricity.

Ergon Energy is also working with the government to develop a plan to transfer accounts held by government departments, statutory authorities and government-owned corporations to cost reflective tariffs.

The Large Customer Adjustment Program is part of the government’s $2 billion Affordable Energy Plan, which includes a two-year cap on electricity price rises to average inflation and a $50 annual rebate over the next two years for every household.

Lauren ‘LJ’ Butler is the Assistant Editor of Utility magazine and has been part of the team at Monkey Media since 2018.

After completing a Bachelor of Media, Communications and Professional Writing at the University of Wollongong in 2014, and prior to writing about the utility sector, LJ worked as a Journalist and Sub Editor across the horticulture, hardware, power equipment, construction and accommodation industries with publishers such as Glenvale Publications, Multimedia Publishing and Bean Media Group.

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