Queensland businesses slash energy prices

Queensland businesses have been urged to put their hands up to join a $10 million energy program that could slash their power use.

Energy Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said up to 30 regional businesses statewide would receive free energy audits and up to $250,000 in funds to implement the audits’ energy-saving tips.

“This government is serious about reducing the impact of power prices on Queensland businesses,” he said.

“The independent Queensland Competition Authority (QCA) has been transitioning some large electricity users to business tariffs in the past six years, and this program helps them make that transition.

“This is a great opportunity for local businesses to get free expert advice and I’d encourage them to get on board.

“The Queensland Productivity Commission recommended the government help large energy users with this transition and this program is one element of this support.”

Under the Large Customer Adjustment Program, energy experts work one-on-one with businesses to look at requirements of the new tariff they are transitioning to, then crunch the numbers on electricity usage and identify efficiencies.

Government and businesses then go dollar-for-dollar, up to a maximum of $250,000, to implement the measures recommended to save energy.

Ten businesses including sugar mills, manufacturing plants, farms and councils were selected to participate in the first round of the program last year.

The businesses were Cairns, Toowoomba and Cassowary Coast Regional Councils; MSF Sugar, Queensland Sugar Ltd and Isis Central Sugar Mill; Howe Farming; YWAM Medical Ships Training in Townsville; Dobinsons Spring and Suspension and Bundaberg Walkers Engineering Ltd.

The QCA has been gradually phasing out legacy retail tariffs for businesses in regional Queensland because they are not based on the actual costs of supplying electricity.

Ergon Energy is also working with the government to develop a plan to transfer accounts held by government departments, statutory authorities and government-owned corporations to cost reflective tariffs.

The Large Customer Adjustment Program is part of the state government’s $2 billion Affordable Energy Plan, which includes a two-year cap on electricity price rises to average inflation and a $50 annual rebate over the next two years for every household.