How much more evidence do governments need before they act on unfair and crippling power prices?
Sugarcane grower organisation CANEGROWERS says the patience of the community is exhausted with governments which refuse to rein in the big profits of power companies.
“The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission report released has found that power prices across Australia have risen 60% in the past decade but for our CANEGROWERS members and other irrigators the rises have been 130%!” CANEGROWERS CEO Dan Galligan said.
“The ACCC has backed up what we have been saying for years, that these rises and their terrible toll on the profitability of farms are principally driven by the ‘gold plating’ of power network, the lack of effective retail competition and failing regulatory arrangements – they have nothing to do with the actual costs of generating and supplying electricity.
“This has to stop now. Electricity prices must be reduced.
“Power companies have passed on the costs of their over-investment in poles and wires to consumers and successive Queensland Governments have reaped the benefit, through dividends, to the tune of $1.5 billion each year.
“The ACCC’s is the latest investigation to blow the whistle on this hidden tax being paid by all of us, households and businesses.
“At the next elections, state and federal, we will all be watching closely to see who is going to call a halt on this,” Mr Galligan said.
CANEGROWERS has a five point plan to fix power prices for irrigators. The sugarcane farmers’ organisation is urging all political parties lining up for the next Queensland State Election to commit to:
- Optimise the regulated asset base and require Energy Queensland to take responsibility for its management decisions
- Remove hidden taxes from Energy Queensland’s cost structure
- Redesign the network tariff system to ensure irrigators are not paying for congestion costs caused by other consumers
- Reinstate local distribution grids
- Require Ergon to re-submit a tariff proposal that contains fair pricing for Queenslanders.