Drastic action required to halt rising electricity prices
BUNDABERG Canegrowers say thousands of jobs are at risk if the Queensland Government does not intervene in Ergon Energy's bid to increase its revenues over the next five years.
Rural Queenslanders will be looking to their local representatives to ensure regional Queensland's electricity provider puts a stop to skyrocketing electricity prices.
"If something drastic is not done to lower the price of electricity soon, irrigated sugarcane production will cease to exist in our region and quite possibly throughout Queensland," said Bundaberg Canegrowers chairman Allan Dingle.
"Not only are high electricity prices sending irrigators broke, small businesses and local communities in sugarcane growing areas are also feeling the pinch."
"The cost of delivering electricity has not changed in the past 10 years, yet electricity prices have been spiralling out of control. Where is the money going?"
Mr Dingle said the answer was simple.
"All of Ergon Energy's customers have faced year-on-year, double-digit price increases, the state's network companies have been delivering "super profits" to the Queensland Government - totalling $1.8 billion in 2015/16 alone," Mr Dingle said.
" I reckon up to $12,000 a year of an irrigators' annual electricity bill is going to the Queensland Government through Ergon Energy's books."
"That money would be better off staying in the regions that earn it and being used to employ people."
Mr Dingle said the sugarcane industry had been pressing for the State Government to make some simple and effective changes to the management of the state's network companies, such as: using the state's actual debt costs to finance the networks, paying for the legacy cost of the Solar Bonus Scheme through general revenue, not collecting corporate tax payments and not forcing consumers to pay for "gold plated" parts of the network.
"Adopting these changes would immediately reduce the price of electricity for all everyone in regional Queensland, without costing a single job at Ergon Energy." Mr Dingle said.
"The Queensland Government owns the network companies and they set the rules for the regulators. It is certainly within their power to act on electricity prices."
Mr Dingle said it's time MPs across regional Queensland stood up and took decisive action on electricity prices.