Ergon, Energex demands unfair on consumers
THE Palaszczuk Government has defended state-owned energy distributors Ergon and Energex's push to oppose price reductions to ensure power supply is not threatened.
But the Opposition said this was a rip-off designed to prop up the Government's ailing budget and demanded they force state-owned companies to pull their proposals.
The Sunday Mail revealed yesterday the Government had allowed its energy distributors to oppose price reductions championed by the nation's chief electricity regulator.
The Australian Energy Regulator's plans would see average households save $102 from their electricity bills in 2020-21 and $64 in five years.
But Energex and Ergon Energy want these savings cut to $48 next year and $6 in the future.
Energy Minister Anthony Lynham said the final prices would be determined by the AER, and power companies were entitled to make their cases about the potential impact on safety and reliability.
"These revised submissions will ensure residents all over Queensland will have access to reliable electricity, especially in times of natural disasters such as cyclones and bushfires," Dr Lynham said.
But he also suggested that the Queensland proposals were unlikely to be endorsed by the AER in its final decision in April.
"For that to occur, they would have to accept completely Energy Queensland's submissions, which is unlikely."
Deputy Opposition Leader Tim Mander accused the Government of using the power companies as a cash cow.
"Queensland power users are suffering because of the astronomical debt the Palaszczuk Labor government is racking up," Mr Mander said.
He called on the state to order its "power companies not to put this further submission in asking for further returns".