Price- gouge probe call for power sta­tions

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS -

THE Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment has writ­ten to the Aus­tralian En­ergy Reg­u­la­tor ask­ing it to in­ves­ti­gate claims Queens­land’s gov­ern­ment- owned power gen­er­a­tors have been price- goug­ing.

In the lat­est devel­op­ment in the long- run­ning stoush be­tween the two lev­els of gov­ern­ment over power pol­icy, En­ergy Min­is­ter Josh Fry­den­berg yes­ter­day wrote to the AER ask­ing it to look into pric- ing prac­tises used by Stan­well and CS En­ergy.

It comes af­ter the Lib­eral Na­tional Party wrote to the Aus­tralian Con­sumer and Com­pe­ti­tion Com­mis­sion last week ask­ing it to in­ves­ti­gate claims the gen­er­a­tors had been us­ing the mar­ket to drive up power prices, which gen­er­ated higher div­i­dends for the State Gov­ern­ment.

Queens­land Op­po­si­tion Leader Tim Ni­cholls men- tioned the is­sue sev­eral times in his speech to the LNP state con­ven­tion on Sun­day, and promised to bring the is­sue up ev­ery day un­til the state elec­tion, due early next year.

“We have seen 70 per cent in­creases in the cost of power here in Queens­land, be­cause La­bor is tax­ing busi­nesses in or­der to bal­ance the books,” Mr Ni­cholls said yes­ter­day.

“The La­bor Gov­ern­ment has loaded these com­pa­nies up with debt and de­manded 100 per cent div­i­dends, and in or­der to meet those re­quire­ments they’re goug­ing con­sumers. That’s why it’s ac­tu­ally a tax on Queens­lan­ders.”

Queens­land En­ergy Min­is­ter Mark Bai­ley di­rected Stan­well and CS En­ergy to change their pric­ing prac­tises ear­lier this year in an ef­fort to drive down power bills. How­ever, he again re­jected claims the gen­er­a­tors had been goug­ing.

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