ACCC says break- up on power best bet
THE nation’s competition czar has urged the break- up of Queensland’s state- owned power generators, insisting it would deliver dividends for electricity users.
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chairman Rod Sims yesterday said the Government controlled two- thirds of Queensland’s generation capacity and this was hurting households and business.
Premier Annas tacia Palaszczuk rejected Mr Si ms’ assessment, insisting her Government had used its ownership status over the generators to leverage better outcomes for consumers.
The generators have been accused of “gaming” the national energy market by using their significant market power to raise prices.
After pocketing record dividends, the Palaszczuk Government ordered the generators to cease late bidding behaviour, which had an immediate impact on wholesale prices.
Mr Sims said the decision demonstrated the market power of the state’s generators.
“No other part of the system has that, so it is incredibly concentrated,” he said. “It certainly means prices are higher than they should be.”
Mr Sims said the Government had over- invested in the distribution networks, pocketing guaranteed returns as prices skyrocketed.
“Network charges, be they transmission or the poles and wires in your street, have been too expensive and too much money spent on them which has meant that consumers have had to pay too much to get the power from the generator to their homes,” he said.
But Ms Palaszczuk said voters had rejected asset sales and her Government had ensured the state’s power price rise was the lowest in Australia.