THE Queensland Electricity Users Network (QEUN) has slammed the current Queensland Government for inaction on creating a competitive energy market in Regional Queensland.
Queensland Electricity Users Network coordinator Jennifer Brownie claims the government is unfairly charging consumers for public services that do not exist.
“The Queensland Government plans to rip nearly $100 million out of regional Queensland next year by charging customers for retail competition that does not exist in regional Queensland,” Ms Brownie said.
“(The) announcement by the Queensland Competition Authority of a small reduction in regional power bills completely ignores the Queensland Government is adding around 10 percent to regional power bills for something that doesn’t exist.”
The QEUN claims that an average residence in the regions pays 25 cents extra for non-existent retail competition.
This is estimated to reduce $56 million from the regional economy, affecting primarily low-middle income residents.
Small businesses in regional Queensland are also impacted, paying approximately 28 cents per day, adding another $9 million.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission estimates it costs $48 to acquire and retain an electricity customer.
Ms Brownie also claims Ergon Energy holds a "near monopoly" over regional Queensland as a sole power provider.
“Ergon Energy Retail is a near monopoly and doesn’t have to fight to acquire or retain its customers," Ms Brownie said.
“This means the Queensland Government drains another $34 million from the regional Queensland economy.
“This $100 million should be in the pockets of regional Queensland homes and businesses.” She said.
Last year Ergon Energy Retail more than doubled its profits to $263 million, with $177 million being paid to the Queensland Government.
“This exorbitant profit caused businesses to sack staff and nearly 13,000 homes to have their electricity disconnected for non-payment.
“The QEUN urges the Queensland Government to support regional jobs and to reduce the cost of living by further reducing regional power bills.”