Economists are predicting electricity prices in Queensland to double within five years, as a result of the state government’s regulations. Jonathan Pavetto, from the Alliance of Electricity Consumers, says the prediction has been given by Queensland’s electricity companies, Ergon and Energex, following energy revenue proposals to the Australian Energy Regulator (AER).
“The regulatory program that the network companies abide by means they are using that gold-plated network to squeeze more and more money out of consumers every year,” explained Mr Pavetto to ABC radio.
Consumers are holding hopes that the Queensland Government will adjust electricity prices and regulations in the name of taking financial burden off families.
Pavetto, on the other hand, is pessimistic this will happen.
“Ergon and Energex are owned by the state government and the more money they take from consumers, the more goes to Queensland’s bottom line,” he said.
Government Setting its Own Rules, Experts Say
Predictions from the Alliance show that in the coming financial year Queensland families will contribute $300 each to Queensland’s bottom line in electricity prices.
This has caused outrage amongst electricity consumers and, according to Mr Pavetto, rightly so considering the government not only owns the network, but also sets the rules and regulations.
“The government are setting the rules for their own game and as a direct result prices have been increased,” he said.
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Pavetto argues that there are many ways to cut costs to Queensland households, in particular harnessing the states debt to fund electricity schemes.
Ergon Energy’s bid to join an interstate legal challenge will force electricity prices even higher for households, said the Alliance.
The Australian Energy Regulator has revealed a price estimate allowing Ergon and Energex to raise a maximum of $17.6 billion from consumers between 2015 and 2020.
Power companies have appealed this proposal, claiming entitlement to an extra $2.2 billion in revenue in order to avoid threatening energy sector jobs severely.
This has lead to Queensland energy companies joining forces with those in NSW to appeal the regulations through court action.
Opposition Accuse Government of Manipulating Prices
Meanwhile, the opposition has lashed out at the Palaszczuk government, accusing them of manipulating prices in an attempt to pay off state debt as promised in the election.
Mark Bailey, Minister for Energy and Water Supply, has maintained the government’s promise to improve prices for consumers.
We should see a final decision by the end of October, and responses and adjustments will be made then, explained Minister Bailey.