Power market competition to bring down prices
INTRODUCING competition to regional Queensland's electricity market would be the Liberal National Party's plan to bring down electricity bills by $300.
LNP leader Deb Frecklington announced the plan to level the playing field for electricity retailers in regional Queensland, in response to the State Budget in Parliament on Thursday, June 14.
"Households in regional Queensland deserve affordable energy, but the government-owned Ergon Energy has a stranglehold on the market,” she said.
More competition in the marketplace is the best way to drive down prices and should not be restricted to the southeast corner who are spoilt for choices of energy retailers, Ms Frecklington said.
"It's not good enough that Queenslanders north of Gympie and west of Toowoomba are treated like second-class citizens,” she said.
The LNP's plan would be to introduce reforms to allow other energy retailers to compete against Ergon and deliver real choices for regional communities, Ms Frecklington said.
"Competition drives efficiencies and cuts bills and that's why an elected LNP Government would make extending retail competition to the whole of Queensland a priority,” she said.
Ms Frecklington said giving regional Queenslanders the chance to shop around would save households around $300 a year.
LNP shadow energy minister Michael Hart said the current system favoured main cities over regional Queensland.
"Labor set up the Electricity Inquiry and has failed to act on key recommendations that should provide cheaper electricity,” he said.
The last LNP Government introduced competition into the retail market in Southeast Queensland, which is seeing the competition deliver real savings, Mr Hart said.
The Queensland Productivity Commission Electricity Pricing Inquiry stated a network CSO (Community Service Obligation) would promote competition and would likely deliver approximately $303 million in benefits to market customers in the initial five-year period due to price discounting.
The move from a CSO paid to Ergon Energy to a network CSO, would have a total net cost to the State budget of approximately $768 million in the initial five-year period.
This would incorporate a total cost over a 20-year period forecast to be about $3.7 billion, depending on the rate at which Ergon Energy customers switch to market contracts, the inquiry stated.
Mr Hart said the LNP would also plan to maintain the Uniform Tariff Policy, which supports economic development by levelling the playing field for businesses operating in the regions.