Lee Constable

Ergon, Energex told to pull back revenue

QUEENSLAND households are set to save an average of $34 a year on their power bills, but the Opposition argues the cuts will be cancelled out by the Labor Government.

The Australian Energy Regulator has released a preliminary decision ordering Ergon Energy to pull back revenue by 27% and Energex by 22% over the next four years.

Both companies flatly opposed the cutbacks, but AER board member Jim Cox said their arguments were unfounded.

"Any costs above efficient levels will need to be funded by the network owners, not customers," he said.

Shadow Energy Minister Andrew Powell credited the LNP for achieving the cheaper prices.

But he held little hope they would be passed on to consumers under the Labor Government.

"Their plan to merge the electricity generators has been criticised by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission as having the potential to 'push up electricity prices'," he said.

"They also put a stop to the deregulation of electricity pricing in south-east Queensland at the last minute, despite the huge benefits this has provided families in other states."

Queensland Council of Social Service CEO Mark Henley said the price reductions did not go far enough.

"This decision is a saving of only 65c per week meaning low-income families will continue to struggle to pay their bills, so there is still more that needs to be done to ensure all Queenslanders have affordable access to this essential service," he said.

Energy Minister Mark Bailey said the decision reinforced the importance of keeping energy assets in public hands.

"Private companies are largely driven by profits," he said.

"These crucial public assets would have been in private hands under the LNP's plan and given their track record, the results would have been bad for Queenslanders."



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