ED­I­TO­RIAL,

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS -

The point is few des­per­ate North Queens­lan­ders care about the rea­sons be­hind the in­creases in their power bills – they just want them to go down.

POWER prices look likely to be a de­ci­sive is­sue at the com­ing state elec­tion.

If you are a North Queens­land busi­ness strug­gling un­der the weight of spi­ralling over­heads such as elec­tric­ity, today’s rev­e­la­tions about the truth be­hind power pric­ing in Queens­land will shock you.

New anal­y­sis by Fed­eral En­ergy Min­is­ter Josh Fry­den­berg ap­pears to show Queens­land has had the high­est- priced av­er­age whole­sale power in Aus­tralia this year, about 30 per cent above av­er­age.

It is com­plex stuff and the La­bor State Gov­ern­ment has been quick to re­ject the claims made by the Coali­tion.

As the Bul­letin re­vealed last week, the Gov­ern­ment has been ac­cused of “gam­ing” the com­plex pric­ing sys­tem used to trade elec­tric­ity ca­pac­ity to reap ex­tra­or­di­nary prof­its from its fleet of modern power gen­er­a­tors.

The 2016- 17 State Bud­get pa­pers re­veal the Gov­ern­ment will reap $ 1.5 bil­lion in div­i­dends from gov­ern­ment- owned gen­er­a­tors in the next four years.

This is a 110 per cent in­crease on the es­ti­mates from 2015- 16.

Queens­land En­ergy Min­is­ter Mark Bailey, who is ve­he­ment in his de­fence of the Gov­ern­ment’s pric­ing con­trols and pres­sures, de­nies gen­er­a­tors are to blame for spi­ralling bills across the state.

He in­sists the na­tional en­ergy mar­ket is “bro­ken” – both sides of pol­i­tics agree – but claims the Gov­ern­ment’s or­der to gen­er­a­tors to al­ter bid­ding strate­gies is proof of La­bor “fur­ther back­ing con­sumers”.

The unar­guable truth, no mat­ter which side of the de­bate you sit on, is that power bills are crip­pling the North when the re­gion’s econ­omy can least af­ford speed bumps on the road to re­cov­ery.

Last week’s rev­e­la­tion that re­tail­ers are re­quir­ing tens of thou­sands of dol­lars as a se­cu­rity bond on some new busi­nesses elec­tric­ity con­nec­tions has fired up our com­mu­nity, with plenty of read­ers con­tact­ing the pa­per to voice con­cern.

The point is few des­per­ate North Queens­lan­ders care about the rea­sons be­hind the in­creases in their power bills – they just want them to go down.

At the moment one side of pol­i­tics is promis­ing to cut bills while the other prom­ises “down­ward pres­sure”, code for only a slow­ing of the in­crease.

This is not good enough.

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