State Treasurer Curtis Pitt
State Treasurer Curtis Pitt Mike Richards GLA190417STATE

Power prices set to rise even further for CQ

POWER prices for households and businesses are going up.

The Queensland Competition Authority released its final decision on regulated retail prices for regional Queensland yesterday, revealing the annual bill for a typical customer on the main residential tariff was set to increase by 7.1% from $1490 to $1595 for 2017-18.

But the Queensland Government immediately announced it would intervene in the decision.

Treasurer Curtis Pitt said the QCA's determination was unacceptable.

"We will not tolerate a return to... massive electricity price surges,” MrPitt said.

"We will invest $770million over three years to back consumers and lower electricity prices from what the QCA has announced.”

He said the intervention would reduce household bill increases in regional Queensland from 7.1% down to 3.3%, an ongoing estimated saving of $51 per year.

"This is also a good result for a typical small business, which will now see a much smaller increase of 4.1% instead of the QCA's 8.2%.”

Opposition shadow agriculture spokesman Dale Last nevertheless called the rise in prices "a kick in the guts for farmers who are already on their knees struggling with these costs”.

"Today's increase... is the direct result of Labor's decision to slug power companies with billions of dollars of debt,” Mr Last said.

Despite the State Government's intervention, the average power bill for residents will still rise about $49 and about $102 for businesses.

QCA chair Professor Roy Green said the regulated price increase was primarily the result of substantial increases in wholesale energy costs driven by "a projected tightening in the demand-supply balance within the national electricity market”.

"A number of factors have contributed to this tightening, including the increased demand from electricity-intensive in-field gas compression associated with the LNG export facilities,” he said.

Power costs have become a big issue in Central Queensland communities.

A petition was launched calling on more alternative choices to Ergon Energy for Central Queenslanders in the face of rising costs.

At the time, Ergon Energy said electricity prices were set by the QCA.

A number of businesses have cited rising power costs as a major problem, including Boyne Smelter Limited, which pointed to power costs as the main reason it had to sack workers and cut production earlier this year after an electricity price hike in mid-January.

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