Qld power price rise attacked
THE Queensland Government will fight a proposed increase in electricity prices following the lifting of water restrictions for power stations. The Queensland Competition Authority (QCA) last week recommended a 7 per cent rise in the price cap for electricity from July 1.
The cap, known as the benchmark retail cost index (BRCI), is used to adjust electricity prices each year.
It comes after an 11.37 per cent rise in the BRCI last year, mainly because of the drought and extra capital spending.
Energy Minister Geoff Wilson has announced that recent rainfall had allowed the relaxation of water restrictions imposed on the Tarong North and Swanbank power stations. Wilson has previously promised that power prices would be reviewed if the drought broke.
Premier Anna Bligh said the Government would ask the QCA to review its recommendation, as it was now unwarranted.
‘‘ Given that the restrictions on water for our electricity generators have been lifted as of today, we believe that (price rise) requires further consideration,’’ Bligh told reporters. ‘‘ Frankly, I hope that this means we can see the slug on consumers reduced.
‘‘ I don’t want to see a 7 per cent increase in electricity prices and if they can be reduced as a result of this then I look forward to a change in the recommendation from the competition authority.’’
Opposition Leader Lawrence Springborg said Bligh had promised in 2005 that no Queenslander would be worse off under full retail competition in the electricity sector. ‘‘ Queenslanders had hoped that when she gave her word, it would be carried through,’’ he said.
But Bligh said her comments had been taken out of context. ‘‘ What I said was that in relation to access to the uniform tariff, no consumer will be worse off,’’ she said.
The move to full competition would benefit consumers over time, Bligh said. AAP