Power firms ‘ exploiting’ region
Shocking state of affairs
NORTH Queenslanders are paying the second- highest electricity bills in the country amid claims residents are being exploited by power companies.
The claims from the Alliance of Electricity Consumers come less than a week after the group submitted a report to the Australian Energy Regulator highlighting areas where costs could be saved.
Townsville Enterprise economic development general manager Tracey Lines said it was essential that the government did what successive governments have failed to do and address escalating prices.
“Our region ( North Queensland) pays the highest prices for electricity in the country, second to Pilbara ( in Western Australia),” she said.
“It hurts every sector of the economy and community.
“TEL represents 382 businesses and just about every one says their main struggles come back to high prices of en-
One of the
biggest things the State Government can
do to drive economic growth
to ease the electricity burden
ergy and how fast it’s been rising.
“It scares investment, reduces confidence and slows economic growth because of uncertainty.
“One of the biggest things the State Government can do to drive economic growth is to ease the electricity burden.”
Townsville teacher Allan Pilcher said his family had to tighten their belt to keep up with electricity prices.
“It’s definitely made a difference on monthly household repayments,” he said.
“It means we have to cut back on other things like entertainment, groceries and sporting commitments for the kids.”
AEC spokesman Jonathan Pavetto said Queenslanders paid nearly $ 600 more than they should on the “poles and wires” component of their electricity bills, while small businesses were being slugged $ 2000 too much every year.
He blamed decade- long rises on inflated debt and equity costs, inefficient operational expenditure, the legacy cost of the 44 cent solar feed- in tariff, and network gold platting.
“Townsville in particular has a lot of heavy industry ... the State Government acting to reduce prices would benefit Townsville probably more than anywhere else in the state,” Mr Pavetto said.
Energy and Water Supply Minister Mark Bailey said the AEC “overlooked the fact that average Queensland household power bills are expected to fall by about 0.5 per cent during this financial year”.
“This is welcome relief to Queenslanders who endured a 43 per cent increase in average power bills during three years of LNP rule,” Mr Bailey said.
TURNED OFF: Allan Pilcher, his wife Sue and children Jasper, 9, and Sienna, 7, are feeling the effects of rising electricity prices.