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Labor's plan to knock money off CQ business's power bills

Labor candidate for Rockhampton Barry O'Rourke, Keppel MP Brittany Lauga, Minster for Energy Mark Bailey and Dobinsons Spring and Suspension manager Chris Dobinson.
Labor candidate for Rockhampton Barry O'Rourke, Keppel MP Brittany Lauga, Minster for Energy Mark Bailey and Dobinsons Spring and Suspension manager Chris Dobinson. Allan Reinikka ROK311017adobinso

QUEENSLAND Labor know the state election could be won or lost on power prices and have now released details of their new plan to reduce electricity bills for large business consumers.

During their visit to Rockhampton's Dobinsons Spring and Suspension, Queensland Energy Minister Mark Bailey, Keppel MP Brittany Lauga and Labor's Rockhampton candidate Barry O'Rourke unveiled a new energy policy and heard from Dobinsons Spring and Suspension manager Chris Dobinson who described how his business struggled to remain competitive globally with the high power costs.

Mr Dobinson thanked Mrs Lauga for helping their business to successfully apply for the Queensland Government's $16m Large Customer Adjustment Program - a program designed to help large electricity consumers in regional Queensland pay electricity bills and more efficiently use energy.

To combat high power prices, Dobinsons Spring and Suspension has invested $1m to cover their roof in solar panels, looked into battery storage and claimed it was "still cheaper to run on diesel generators”.

Solar system mounted on the Dobinsons Springs and Suspension.
Solar system mounted on the Dobinsons Springs and Suspension. Contributed

According to the Queensland Government website, this new plan would see Dobinsons, as a large customer using more than 100MW of electricity each year, meeting the pre-qualification criteria, switch to cost reflective business electricity tariffs, from the transitional and obsolete business tariffs being phased out by 2020.

The program also provides customers a free and independent evaluation of energy management strategies that could save their business money and improve energy productivity and advice on how to integrate these strategies.

Mr Dobinson applauded the move by the state government to ease the burden of power bills for their CQ business which currently employs 48 people.

Nick Dobinson manufactures a coil spring, the core business of the family-run Dobinsons business.
Nick Dobinson manufactures a coil spring, the core business of the family-run Dobinsons business. Amber Hooker

"[There's the] possibility for us to implement new technology to help reduce our power bills,” Mr Dobinson said.

"It's great that someone is listening to us and doing something to help us as business employing people in Central Queensland.”

Mr Bailey said the Large Customer Adjustment program was a great strategy to help the productivity and viability of regional businesses who were large users of energy and job creators.

"The program is absolutely fantastic in terms of reducing energy consumption by using an energy audit and a co-contribution of 50 per cent from the Palaszczuk Government to work out ways to reduce consumption and using the latest techniques on energy,” he said.

"We've had 10 businesses already and what we've seen is massive productivity improvements as a result of it with reductions of energy up to 40 per cent with pay back periods sometimes down to one or two years depending on the company and the particulars.

"We know that this is an issue for regional businesses, that's why we've extended the program to such a significant degree - 30 regional businesses will benefit from this additional $10m commitment.”

Mrs Lauga said Dobinsons could find energy savings by making changes including buying a new furnace control centre, switchboard upgrades and by installing supplementary generation capacity to help manage their demand.



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