ELEC­TRIC­ITY SU­PER-PROF­ITS

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - LOOKING BACK -

The Queens­land Com­pe­ti­tion Author­ity (QCA) draft de­ter­mi­na­tion, Reg­u­lated Re­tail Elec­tric­ity Prices for 2016–17, pro­poses in­creas­ing elec­tric­ity prices for ir­ri­ga­tion tar­iffs by a fur­ther 10.3 per cent, more pain for Cane Growers and other ir­ri­ga­tors.

The sharp in­creases (96 per cent over the past seven years) are un­sus­tain­able and are in dan­ger of putting Queens­lan­ders out of busi­ness.

Ir­ri­ga­tors face the dif­fi­cult de­ci­sion of choos­ing be­tween a 23 per cent loss in pro­duc­tion or a 40 per cent in­crease in elec­tric­ity costs to ap­ply the ex­tra wa­ter to main­tain pro­duc­tion. It is a loss–loss sit­u­a­tion for them.

In stark con­trast, elec­tric­ity sup­ply com­pa­nies con­tinue to en­joy su­per prof­its. De­spite be­ing one of the least ef­fi­cient trans­mis­sion net­works in Aus­tralia.

Pow­er­link is one of the coun­try’s most prof­itable com­pa­nies. No other ASX 50 stock comes close to it.

For a $401 mil­lion in­vest­ment, the Queens­land gov­ern­ment has achieved a re­turn of $9.4 bil­lion over the past 15 years. This is 23 times the re­turns of Lend Lease, 15.5 times those of Tel­stra, 10 times those of NAB and BHP and well ahead of Wool­worths.

There seems to be so much focus on profit tak­ing by State-owned elec­tric­ity net­work op­er­a­tors, that no one ap­pears to be lis­ten­ing to the con­cerns of users who will have only one op­tion – to stop us­ing elec­tric­ity all to­gether and seek al­ter­na­tive sources of en­ergy.

This will only in­crease the costs fur­ther for those left on the grid.

To take the enor­mous pres­sure off the end users – Queens­land farm­ers, busi­nesses, house­hold­ers – the State Gov­ern­ment needs to show some lead­er­ship and call an im­me­di­ate halt to any fur­ther in­creases.

Kerry Lat­ter, CEO, Cane­grow­ers

as a mat­ter of WHEN, not IF.

The whole Dain­tree was within the le­gal dis­tri­bu­tion area of the elec­tric­ity provider at the time, If you don’t like it why don’t you move? Not many peo­ple are will­ing to buy a prop­erty without elec­tric­ity sup­ply, or even if they are then they will not pay a re­al­is­tic price, as they have trou­ble ob­tain­ing fi­nance.

A grid will bring over-de­vel­op­ment to a pris­tine area.

WRONG! A three point plan was agreed on be­tween gov­ern­ment and stake hold­ers in 2009.

You bought cheap land be­cause there was never go­ing to be any grid power, it was never promised.

WRONG! FNQEB was ready to put elec­tric­ity in, it was only a mat­ter of WHEN, and not IF, for many years. Var­i­ous politi­cians over the years

com­mit­ted to the pro­vi­sion of mains power.

You can not ex­pect the Govt to pay a grid from pub­lic money. Why not? All other in­fra­struc­ture in Aus­tralia was built with pub­lic money. Nowhere else in Aus­tralia have res­i­dents had to get to­gether to dis­cuss and fi­nance their own ba­sic in­fra­struc­ture. Hun­dreds of mil­lions have been spent on so­lar farms near Cook­town and Weipa, and 34 re­mote in­dige­nous com­mu­ni­ties have power grids built and main­tained from pub­lic money.

The Queens­land Gov­ern­ment has cre­ated this mess by a.) ap­prov­ing the sub­di­vi­sion of the Dain­tree and b.) ban­ning grid power and ex­clud­ing the area from the dis­tri­bu­tion area of the state’s elec­tric­ity sup­plier.

Rob La­paer, Dain­tree

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