Competition Boost to Reduce Electricty Prices

18/06/2013

Removal of electricity price control in south-east Queensland by 1 July 2015 and the introduction of price monitoring are further reforms to the electricity sector designed to improve competition and reduce pressures on prices.

Queensland Energy Minister Mark McArdle said the reforms, subject to satisfactory consumer protection and engagement, should increase competition with better outcomes for customers in terms of choice, efficiency and customer service.

Mr McArdle said the final details for introduction of price monitoring will be part of the Government's 30 year strategy. Once the pre-conditions are met the Government's role will shift to monitoring prices set by retailers.

"The current role of the Queensland Competition Authority (QCA) in setting prices will be retained for the Ergon area while the Government finalises a strategy for introducing competition into regional Queensland," Mr McArdle said.

"Customers in the Ergon area benefit from more than $600 million in price support through the Uniform Tariff Policy and further work is required before full retail competition can be introduced to regional Queensland."

The QCA would be asked to oversight price monitoring and examine price packages put together by retailers.

Seath Holswich MP, Member for Pine Rivers said high electricity costs on households and businesses were a problem that needs a solution.

"The Government is having this conversation with Queenslanders, and it is important to allow consumers to compare prices and shop around," Mr Holswich said.

"Electricity price regulation has done nothing to reduce prices in Queensland, and without action on this issue it is guaranteed that prices will continue to rise unsustainably."

State Member for Kallangur, Trevor Ruthenberg MP said "The Queensland Competition Authority will have strong powers to monitor prices to protect consumers, and allow them to have pricing packages that better suit their individual needs."

"These changes are not instantaneous with immediate benefits, but the current system does not work and the Newman Government is committed to the reform that Queensland households require to reduce the cost of living."