Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - OPINION -

Elec­tric­ity prices in Queens­land are high and ris­ing, threat­en­ing the vi­a­bil­ity of ir­ri­gated agri­cul­ture across Queens­land.

The cur­rent elec­tric­ity pric­ing frame­work is fail­ing elec­tric­ity con­sumers and is di­rectly and ad­versely af­fect­ing the in­ter­na­tional com­pet­i­tive­ness of Queens­land’s ex­port ori­ented ir­ri­gated agri­cul­tural in­dus­tries, risk­ing turn­ing this pil­lar of our economy into a stump.

If Er­gon En­ergy’s pro­posed new tar­iffs are ap­proved by the en­ergy reg­u­la­tor, then sum­mer power costs will surge.

Er­gon’s pro­posed tar­iffs, set to take ef­fect from next year, would pe­nalise fi­nan­cially strapped home own­ers, busi­nesses and farm­ers dur­ing the sum­mer, when they use power the most.

An in­ves­ti­ga­tion, com­mis­sioned by Cane­grow­ers and car­ried out by eco­nomic con­sul­tants Sapere, found the Er­gon pro­posal was far from justified.

The re­port sug­gests that the de­gree of net­work con­ges­tion upon which the pro­pos­als in Er­gon’s Tar­iff Struc­ture State­ment de­pend has been over­stated by two or­ders of mag­ni­tude based on Er­gon’s pub­lic data on zone sub­sta­tion con­ges­tion.

The scale of this pric­ing dis­tor­tion is a whop­ping $1.8 bil­lion over five years.

This re­port is our smok­ing gun to say yep, Er­gon En­ergy has just been a cash cow to print money.

The long-term so­lu­tion is to fix the

reg­u­la­tory rules to en­sure it de­liv­ers fair re­turns rather than ex­ces­sive re­turns to the net­works and the State Gov­ern­ment that owns them.

Kerry Lat­ter, CEO CANE­GROW­ERS Mackay

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