Qld power price rise at­tacked

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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

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