Queensland power prices tipped to fall

Electricity prices are flagged to drop in regional Queensland by up to 4.3 per cent following a draft determination from the independent price regulator.

The Queensland Competition Authority (QCA) released its draft determination of 2018-19 electricity prices for regional Queensland last week.

QCA chair Professor Roy Green said the review of notified prices began in December 2017.

“This year’s draft determination forecasts decreases across all tariffs, including the main residential and small business tariffs,” Professor Green said.

“The primary contributor to the tariff decreases for 2018–19 is a decline in network costs.

“Wholesale energy costs have also decreased by smaller amounts, but these reductions have been largely offset by higher Renewable Energy Target (RET) and prudential costs.”

Overall, the draft forecasts show a 2.3 per cent decrease in the annual bill for a typical customer on the main residential tariff and a 4.3 per cent decrease for the typical customer on the main small business tariff. This would see customers saving $35 on their bill.

Queensland Energy Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said the report by the QCA showed the state government’s interventions to put downward pressure on electricity prices were working.

“We made a pledge to Queenslanders that we would keep power bills below inflation in the next two years, and this latest determination confirms we are ahead of the game,” Dr Lynham said.

“These draft prices are positive, however, I encourage Queenslanders to engage with the QCA to help curb electricity prices.”

Regional small businesses could see a drop in their power bill of 4.3 percent, or $110.

The QCA notes that price drops are largely due to decreased network charges, as well as reduced wholesale energy costs.

Network charges will decrease 5.5 per cent for households and 9.5 per cent for small businesses.

“This is a result of the Palaszczuk Government’s intervention in 2015 directing Energex and Ergon Energy not to challenge the Australian Energy Regulator’s decision, resulting in real savings for regional Queenslanders,” Dr Lynham said.

“The QCA has also confirmed the government’s direction to Stanwell Corporation to adjust its bidding behaviour has also reduced wholesale electricity prices.”

The draft determination is open for submissions until April 9 and the QCA will hold workshops next month in Bundaberg, Cairns, Cloncurry, Emerald, Mackay, Mount Isa, Rockhampton, Toowoomba, Townsville and Brisbane.

A final determination will be released on 31 May.