CCIQ commends State Government for electricity bill deregulation
The Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ) welcomes electricity retail price deregulation in South East Queensland from July 1, 2016.
Minister for Energy and Water Supply Mark Bailey wrote to CCIQ on February 16 confirming these reforms will definitely occur at the start of the new financial year.
CCIQ Director of Advocacy Nick Behrens said small business was pleased the State Government had listened to its concerns and had stuck to the promised date.
“CCIQ has been a strong proponent for the removal of barriers to competition in the retail electricity market in SEQ while maintaining strong customer protections,” he said.
“CCIQ is confident that the removal of regulated prices will ultimately drive better outcomes for consumers in terms of choice, efficiency, customer service and lower prices.”
Mr Behrens said the Queensland Competition Authority (QCA) would no longer set electricity prices in SEQ, however it would continue to operate within the Government’s regulatory framework. QCA would maintain market monitoring powers to inform Government of any market failures and ensure the ongoing adequacy of customer protections.
“The framework also includes a reserve power to allow the Minister to re-regulate prices in the event that competition is deemed ineffective,” he said.
“Electricity prices have doubled on average for business over the past seven years, which has created an enormous hurdle for businesses trying to remain competitive.
“Retail deregulation is designed to increase competition in the market, which will allow customers to shop around for the best contract deal, consequently placing downward pressure on retail prices.”
Mr Behrens said 70 per cent of customers in SEQ were already on market contracts and removing regulated prices would allow the remaining 30 per cent to negotiate their own market contracts to suit individual needs.
“Following implementation of a fully contestable market, CCIQ urges the Government and retailers to work to ensure customers understand the market and what types of offers are available,” he said.
“It is important that small businesses are well informed of the changes set to occur to ensure they take advantage of the opportunities available.”
For more information, factsheets and other resources, go to CCIQ website: https://www.cciq.com.au/advocacy/committees-and-program-initiatives/electricity-advocacy/