The Queensland Competition Authority (QCA) has released its final determination on regulated retail electricity prices for customers in regional Queensland.
Queensland Minister for Energy Mark Bailey said the final determination was proof that the Queensland Government’s efforts to restrain and stabilise power prices were working.
“The QCA determination ensures that under the first two years of the Palaszczuk Government, the average annual increase of the residential price of electricity will only be 1.2 per cent,” Mr Bailey said.
“The average annual increase of the small business price of electricity will be 3.8 per cent under the first two years of the Palaszczuk Government, providing further proof that prices are stabilising after 43 per cent increases over the term of the Newman-Nicholls Government.”
The QCA final determination means that in 2016-17, a typical residential bill will rise by 2.8 per cent with typical small business customers seeing a rise of 11.2 per cent.
However, the impact on individual customers will vary case by case depending on their consumption.
Mr Bailey said that this represented a change from the draft determination.
“While this change was unexpected, we respect the independent price setting process of the QCA,” Mr Bailey said.
“Part of the increase relates to increased demand for electricity in Queensland, which drive higher wholesale prices.
“However, the report revealed restrained network costs had held down the increase in electricity prices.
“This only happened because the Palaszczuk Government intervened last year directing Energex and Ergon to not appeal the Australian Energy Regulator’s decision to curb network costs.
“That direction would not have been possible if our power assets had been sold off under the LNP.
“Also, for the first time since the QCA started determining electricity prices nine years ago, the fixed charge will reduce.
“This is good news for customers with low consumption, with almost one-third of regional retail customers receiving lower annual bills in 2016–17 compared to 2015–16.”
Mr Bailey said the government is proactively working with the business and agricultural sectors to help identify ways to manage electricity price impacts.
“This includes working with Ergon to improve information and accessibility of advice to help ensure these customers are on a tariff that best suits their needs – minimising their costs to the greatest extent possible,” Mr Bailey said.
“We are committed to ensuring that regional customers pay a similar price to those in south east Queensland.
“This year we will spend almost $500 million subsidising the cost of electricity in regional Queensland. That investment supports 700,000 regional Queensland customers.”