Sugar Hit Doesn’t Sweeten Energy Bitterness

Monday 23 October, 2017 | By: James Flaherty

Businesses miss out as the Queensland Government moves into election mode with electricity sugar hit that fails to address the issues causing the state’s electricity to be amongst the most expensive on the planet.

CCIQ’s Kate Whittle said attempting to buy votes was not going to solve the state’s energy problems, “Businesses will look at this as little more than a populist attempt to buy votes whilst completely failing to address the issue of power prices.

“Only regional small businesses, able to pay their bills in weekly, fortnightly or monthly increments, will be qualified to receive a $120 per annum rebate. This is 0.33 cents a day saving.

"When small businesses are reporting bills at over $5000 a year this ‘plan’ is a poor substitute for actual change.

“We have funded the State Governments addiction to energy dividends which it uses to pay down state debt, through paying too much for our electricity. Giving Queenslanders back a fraction of what we are overpaying is insulting.

“Time and time again the State Government have told us that through owning the assets we are able to control our electricity prices and infrastructure, so why has it take 3 years for this dividend to materialise?

“This ‘Plan’ fails to address the systemic issues within our electricity market. The ACCC found that networks costs have increased power bills by 41% due to the gold-plating of infrastructure and inefficiencies. To add insult to injury, it is evidenced that privately owned networks run more efficiently and cheaper than government owned networks.

“As a result of the Queensland Government retaining ownership of the State’s electricity assets, they remain wholly responsible for the rising costs. In Queensland, 65% of electricity generated is from Queensland owned corporations. 100% of all electricity is transported around the state on wires belonging to the Queensland government. The Queensland government is expected to net $6.3 billion over the next four years from the GOCs. The Queensland government is quick to tell you we still own them, but boy do we pay for them.

“As the Grattan Institute phrased it earlier today ‘ this plan is simply the Queensland government taking with one hand and giving back with the other.”

The Queensland government needs to make changes to the system that will see short, medium and long-term results, not just a quick hit.

CCIQ calls upon the Queensland government and opposition to commit to:

  1. Introducing Regional Competition;
  2. Abolishing the Solar Bonus Scheme prior to 2028;
  3. Removing hidden taxes, such as the competitive neutrality charge from networks;
  4. Provide directions to CS Energy to review their bidding practices and adopt the 5 minute bidding settlement; and
  5. Improve the efficiency of networks to better reflect the cost of supply.

“At the end of the day, over 170,000 Queensland jobs are at risk due to increasing energy prices and $50 rebates don’t help in any way shape or form.

“If the Queensland government is willing to spend $2 billion to bring down electricity bills, there are better, more effective ways to spend those dividends, and truly ‘reinvest'."

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