Busi­nesses feel­ing the pinch

The Tatura Guardian - - News - By Barclay White

A feed mill owner from Kyabram has warned that he will need to ditch the elec­tric­ity grid, and in­stall a dirty diesel gen­er­a­tor, if elec­tric­ity prices con­tinue to rise.

Alan Meyer has owned and op­er­ated Vic Feeds at Col­binab­bin for more than three years, and is just one of the many rural busi­ness own­ers that have been stung by re­cent price hikes.

It has been a suc­cess­ful busi­ness, which em­ploys seven work­ers and sup­plies farm­ers across Gipp­s­land and the Goul­burn Val­ley.

When it came time to rene­go­ti­ate his elec­tric­ity con­tract ear­lier this year he was ex­pect­ing a mild hike, but he was not pre­pared for what he got.

‘‘We got a 110 per cent in­crease in one go,’’ Mr Meyer said.

‘‘It’s about $51 000 for just the in­crease, it is the equiv­a­lent of putting on an­other per­son.’’

The rene­go­ti­ated price came out about the time of the clo­sure of La­trobe Val­ley’s Hazel­wood Power Sta­tion, which pro­vided up to 25 per cent of the state’s base load power.

The power sta­tion was listed by WWF Aus­tralia as the least car­bon ef­fi­cient in the OECD, and its clo­sure was wel­comed by en­vi­ron­men­tal­ists.

But Mr Meyer said that heavy users of elec­tric­ity had been left with the costs of the clo­sure that could cost jobs.

‘‘Over the last 12 years there has been no di­rec­tion on en­ergy, both par­ties are to blame,’’ he said.

‘‘The ma­jor busi­nesses will be more likely to go off­shore.’’

When it comes to rene­go­ti­ate his power con­tract again, most likely in a few years, he warned he would go off-grid with a diesel gen­er­a­tor if it rose again.

‘‘It is ridicu­lous, it is the dirt­i­est way of creat­ing power,’’ he said.

State Mem­ber for Euroa Steph Ryan said she had heard plenty of sto­ries like Mr Meyer’s from across re­gional Vic­to­ria.

‘‘My great­est con­cern is the im­pact that th­ese price rises will have on em­ploy­ment in our com­mu­nity,’’ Ms Ryan said.

‘‘I don’t think we have touched the tip of that ice­berg.’’

She pointed to the clo­sure of the Hazel­wood Power Sta­tion, and the Vic­to­rian Gov­ern­ment’s pol­icy of leg­is­lat­ing its own re­new­able en­ergy tar­get for the large in­creases.

A tran­si­tion to re­new­able en­ergy was some­thing that she sup­ported, but she said lit­tle plan­ning had been done to han­dle the show­down of Hazel­wood.

‘‘Ex­perts have said this is a flawed pol­icy, they say we need to have a na­tional frame­work,’’ she said.

She said sto­ries like Mr Myer’s were ‘‘fright­en­ingly com­mon’’ across re­gional Vic­to­ria.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.