Govern­ment de­ceit be­hind en­ergy ser­vice charges

Townsville Bulletin - - OPINION -

MUCH has been said in re­cent times about the cost of elec­tric­ity but I can­not re­call ever hear­ing or reading any­thing about the ser­vice charges in­cluded in our quar­terly bills.

I have kept nearly all of our ac­counts for the past five years and the quar­terly ‘ ser­vice fee’ in May, 2012 was 28.8 cents per day or $ 26.20 for a 91- day billing pe­riod.

This jumped by 90 per cent to $ 50.28 in mid- 2014 and by a fur­ther 78 per cent on our last quar­terly state­ment is­sued in June this year to $ 89.64 – a to­tal in­crease of just un­der 200 per cent.

Then in mid- 2015 a ‘ me­ter ser­vice fee’ of 6.691 cents per day or $ 6.09 for a 91- day billing pe­riod ap­peared and this has now jumped to about $ 18.00 on our lat­est ac­count – an­other in­crease in three years of around 200 per cent.

It seems to me that the probable rea­son for th­ese in­creases was the State Govern­ment’s de­ci­sion in its first bud- get af­ter gain­ing power in the last elec­tion to trans­fer some $ 4 bil­lion of its debt to the elec­tric­ity un­der­tak­ings.

And one won­ders if there have also been sim­i­lar fees in­cor­po­rated into the public- owned gen­er­at­ing un­der­tak­ings’ prices charged to re­tail­ers such as Er­gon.

The Govern­ment has been ex­tremely de­ceit­ful in the way it has han­dled this matter in that in­stead of funding its debt from its own rev­enue it has foisted it off on to the state’s elec­tric­ity con­sumers. I am at a loss to un­der­stand why to the best of my knowl­edge the me­dia has paid lit­tle at­ten­tion to this im­por­tant is­sue as the com­bined ser­vice fees now add up to some $ 410 a year on our ac­count, an amount which I sus­pect would be the equiv­a­lent of an­other quar­terly bill for a lot of elec­tric­ity con­sumers. A. J. GUNN,

Kir­wan.

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