North Rockhampton Bowls Club's Allan Gabel, John Shepard and George Ingham.
North Rockhampton Bowls Club's Allan Gabel, John Shepard and George Ingham. Allan Reinikka ROK200918abowls1

Rocky bowls club with huge power bill debt could be saved

MEMBERS of the North Rockhampton Bowls Club may soon be on the green again, with Central Queensland politicians optimistic they can save the organisation.

The club closed this week believing the power would be disconnected due to a $42,561 electricity bill owing to provider AGL.

Club president Allan Gabel on Thursday said electricity costs have risen from $67,793 annually in 2012 to $100,267 in 2017.

The costs are estimated to be about $130,000 this year.

But since The Morning Bulletin published the club's struggle on Friday, the company has agreed that the power will stay connected.

This will allow the club to continue trading and while there's still no concrete solution yet, Mr Gabel holds some hope of a positive outcome.

"There might be a light at the end of the tunnel,” he said.

Mr Gabel and the committee will meet with Rockhampton MP Barry O'Rourke and Keppel MP Brittany Lauga on Monday morning to discuss the options available to help reduce the club's debt.

Chas Ward sends down one last bowl at North Rockhampton Bowls Club.
Chas Ward sends down one last bowl at North Rockhampton Bowls Club. Allan Reinikka ROK200918abowls4

Ms Lauga explained new legislation passed this week will allow the club to change from AGL to Ergon, which could reduce costs going forward.

"I'm optimistic we'll be able to find a way to get the club to stay open,” she said.

Mr O'Rourke said organisations like the club were "central to creating lifetime bonds.”

"If the club is forced to close, for whatever reasons, it is obviously a terrible blow to members and the community,” he said.

"As far as I am aware, no members of this club have contacted our office since I have been elected to seek assistance.”

Mr O'Rourke said there could be a range of State Government funding options, including funding for solar panels or help streamlining operating costs.

Both Mr O'Rourke and Ms Lauga said Capricornia MP Michelle Landry had unfairly criticised the State Government with regard to electricity costs, given the club is with a private provider.

AGL general manager customer market operations Mark Enzinger said the company was working with local MPs and the club to keep operations going.

"We have arranged for the power to remain on and will help the club find a long term solution,” he said.



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