Regional Qld electricity bills could go up by $8 a year

THE average regional Queensland household might experience a 0.6% increase - or $8 a year - in their electricity bill in the next financial year, following a draft decision announced today from the Queensland Competition Authority (QCA).

Today the QCA announced the average residential electricity bill would increase by 0.6% while the tariff for small businesses will increase by about 9.3% a year - or $197 a year - if its draft determination is finalised.

This draft decision came after Queensland energy and water supply minister Mark Bailey asked QCA to set regulated retail electricity prices for regional Queensland for the 2016-17 financial year.

The determination of regulated electricity prices in regional Queensland helps bring prices in line with those living in the south east corner.

It is expected the QCA will hold workshops across the state, including at Brisbane, Bundaberg, Mackay, Cairns, Mount Isa, Toowoomba and Townsville, from April this year, depending on the level of stakeholder interstate.

Last year the QCA determined a 0.5% decrease for the average household, or about $8, depending on their consumption, for the 2015-16 financial year.

The interim consultation report for the 2016-17 decision said the Government's uniform tariff policy subsidy for regional electricity customers was expected to be $432 million this current financial year.

In its submission to the QCA earlier this year, Bundaberg Regional Irrigators Group said rapidly rising electricity prices were having a severe impact on the costs for members and irrigated agriculture.

"Right now, rural and regional Queensland is in crisis as a result of electricity prices," their submission from company secretary Dale Holliss said.

Mr Holliss also said it was "simply outrageous" that 30% of the retail price was required to meet the networks return on assets.

His submission said a 33% reduction in the 2015-16 tariffs was essential.

Canegrowers chief executive Dan Galligan also made a submission to the QCA, saying the sharp increases in electricity prices in the past years were unsustainable.

He called on the QCA to stop accelerating price increases for irrigations electricity tariffs above other increases.

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