Labor says Qld spared from power price hikes

LABOR claims Queenslanders will be spared from the massive electricity price hikes they experienced under the LNP following the release of a report by the national energy regulator.

 The draft report signals that the average annual electricity bill is expected to reduce by $34 or 1.8% in the next financial year.

Energy Minister Mark Bailey said this would be a welcome relief for households and small businesses across the state.

Labor went to the last state election opposing asset sales.

However, it was a previous Labor government that allowed the sell-off of electricity assets which resulted in soaring energy prices.

But Mr Bailey said the LNP would have allowed for more increases.

"Under the previous LNP Government, the average electricity bill rose by 43% in Queensland.

"It was a massive double digit price hike. Over this period, the price of electricity in Queensland went from well below the national average to well above it," Mr Bailey said.

The Australian Energy Regulator has flagged that annual increases to network charges, which is the biggest component of household bills, will be less than CPI.

Mr Bailey said the reason behind the change is due to the level of expenditure that Energex and Ergon Energy will be allowed to spend over the next five years on the poles and wires used to transport electricity to customers.

"Many people would remember the blackouts that once plagued Queensland because of under-investment in the network.

"Since that time, Energex invested up to $3 million a day, every day, for a number of years on improvements to its network to increase reliability and make it world class.

"As a result, Energex has prioritised its spending on electricity infrastructure and maintained a robust and reliable electricity supply for households and businesses across south east Queensland.

"While it's good news for consumers, we will ensure the AER's decision does not impact on Ergon Energy's ability to respond to natural disasters, such as cyclones.

"We live in a vast state and you've only got to look at the impact of those destructive cyclones earlier this year to recognise the importance of ensuring that Ergon Energy has the resources to help Queenslanders in times of need.

Mr Bailey said today's draft determination reinforced the importance of keeping our energy assets in public hands.

"Private companies are largely driven by profits. These crucial public assets would have been in private hands under the LNP's plan and given their track record, the results would have been bad for Queenslanders.

"We went to the election with a clear plan to keep these public assets in public ownership.

"We also committed to establish a Queensland Productivity Commission. Its first task is to conduct a public inquiry into electricity prices in Queensland.

"The inquiry will seek input from the community, businesses, industry and key stakeholders so that together we can work towards a solution that is in everyone's best interests," he said.


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