Energy cost bid ‘ useless’
A NEW policy announced by the Federal Government will have no impact on reducing power prices in Townsville, according to Member for Herbert Cathy O’Toole.
Prime Minster Malcolm Turnbull yesterday said the Government would address high power prices by getting electricity providers to agree to tell customers they could get better deals elsewhere.
But in the vast majority of Queensland there is only one electricity provider and the price is set by the Queensland Competition Authority.
The price for residential and small business customers is based on the cost of supplying electricity in southeast Queensland.
Ms O’Toole said the policy was not an energy solution but was rather about “sending pamphlets” to customers.
“Even if we had two energy providers in regional Queensland who will go in and negotiate for old age pensioners and those who don’t have the capacity or negotiating skills?” she questioned.
“I can’t imagine there are any electricity providers who are happy to negotiate with people one on one.”
Ms O’Toole said the longterm solution for high electricity prices would involve the establishment of a national energy plan.
She said a national plan would provide a framework of stability for businesses to invest in infrastructure.
“Everything else is just smoke and mirrors,” she said.
Rising electricity costs have become a major concern for businesses and residents in Townsville, according to Ms O’Toole.
“The community is very concerned about this.”
The Australian Labor Party politician said a shift in the economy to the use of more renewable energy sources would reduce electricity prices.
“In Townsville we have sunlight 350 days of the year,” she said.
“That’s just one alternative energy source and we’re already seeing private investment in solar farms.”
She said the ALP had a policy for at least 50 per cent of energy to be from a renewable source by 2030.