Voters want power in their hands
ONE lesson both major parties claim to have learnt from the 2015 state election is that Queenslanders don’t want their power assets sold off.
Apart from a surge of personal resentment against then- premier Campbell Newman, the LNP’s plan to privatise poles and wires was cited as a decisive factor in Annastacia Palaszczuk’s remarkable victory.
So it is accepted wisdom that most people want the government to run our power system, from generation, along the grid and into our homes. But how steadfast is that support? What if it emerged that the government was manipulating the power market to jack up prices in order to maximise its revenue?
It’s hard to say, but we may go some way to answering it this week, when the competition watchdog comes to town.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission will focus on the actions of government- owned generators in the national energy market during a forum in Townsville this Monday.
Specifically, it will delve into allegations the generators have been gaming the market to boost profits and dividends at the expense of consumers.
If the ACCC can substantiate that, it will be a telling blow against government ownership of these assets.
The main reason people want to keep them in public hands is to stop private corporations from driving up their power bills.
This is a particularly important issue here in Townsville where our workforce is more reliant on energyhungry businesses, such as refinery operators Sun Metals and Glencore.
The launched its high- voltage rip off campaign against surging power prices based on growing evidence of government greed.
It is critical that the ACCC interrogates this matter with maximum rigour. It must look past government spin and properly analyse power prices and the at times inexplicable spikes that have hurt our local businesses, and therefore the job security of our workers.
Queensland has an energy surplus. There should be no reason for us to suffer the same price surges that have plagued the southern states resulting from their foolish approach to energy security.
We will monitor the ACCC investigation with interest.