Power bill hike looms

BUNDABERG Regional Council's electricity bill could rise by as much as 20% from July 1 if the State Government accepts recommendations put forward in a draft report by the Queensland Competition Authority.

The rise could mean Bundaberg Regional Council's estimated annual $5 million electricity bill jumps to $6 million if the proposed price increases and service fees are implemented.

The government commissioned the report by the QCA, calling for an alternative retail electricity pricing methodology and an alternative set of retail tariffs, but it will not decide on the proposals until the end of the month.

The proposals could mean that councils would have to pay individual service fees for every unmetered connection, rather than a set flat rate.

Bundaberg Regional Council CEO Peter Byrne said any increase in electricity prices would be very concerning and something the new council would have to consider in the budget.

"Naturally any increase to our costs would affect how the council allocates rate funds and we would have to re-assess priorities and what services we offer," Mr Byrne said.

"Hopefully the government will look very carefully at the implications of these changes to the legislation and consider the negative financial impact on local governments."

State energy minister Mark McArdle said he was looking at the report closely and was "very concerned".

"I am considering this matter carefully and will be making a decision in due course," he said.

But one industry source, who does not wish to be named, claims the new service fees are a done deal and that the council faces a significant bill hike from July 1.

"It's a service fee for the privilege of having an electricity connection," he said.

"It will apply to things like public amenities, car parks and public barbecues."

A decision is due by May 31.

Topics:  bundaberg regional council, electricity, energy, power, qca, queensland government



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