The impost will be a significant shock to households and place further pressure on federal politicians to repeal the carbon tax. Source: Supplied
POWER bills in Queensland are set to surge by an average of $270, with most of the slug caused by green schemes, including the carbon tax.
The Queensland Competition Authority will today recommend a 13.5 per cent increase to prices in its draft determination for 2014-15.
About 70 per cent of the power price increase has been caused by green energy schemes; prices would have risen by 5.6 per cent without them.
Treasurer Tim Nicholls says the Newman Government has “delivered” on its commitments but the federal carbon tax was impacting the cost-of-living.
“We’ve done all we can over 18-months to reduce that rate of increase but quite frankly some of it has been locked in before we got here,” Mr Nicholls told ABC radio.
“It was determined four or five years ago by the Australian Energy Regulator, and some of it was already in place, and of course the carbon tax.
“For people using off-peak tariffs for their hot water system or their full pumps, without the carbon tax the bill would have actually gone down this year for those tariffs.”
He said government measures such as freezing power prices and reintroducing stamp duty concession have helped reduce the cost of living by “between $240 and $360 a year”.
“We’ve worked very hard to ensure the cost of living for Queenslanders has been kept under control,” he said.
MORE TOP HEADLINES …
MEGA MINES COMING TO QUEENSLAND
WHAT NEWMAN’S HQ WILL COST YOU
HOW WOMEN ARE THEIR OWN WORST ENEMY
The power price hike will be a significant shock to households and place further pressure on federal politicians to repeal the carbon tax.
Much of the increased cost will be unavoidable because the pricing scheme introduced last year involves much higher fixed quarterly fees.
It follows a 22 per cent increase in prices this year.
It is understood tariff 31, which is for hard-wired hot water systems, would have fallen by 6.7 per cent without the carbon tax, while tariff 33, predominantly used for swimming pool pumps, would have fallen by 3 per cent.
It will probably be the last massive increase in power prices in Queensland, with the Newman Government promising to slash spending on the poles and wires network owned by Energex and Ergon Energy.
A report, to be released today by the Grattan Institute, backs up the decision to cut network spending.
Shock to the Systemsays the networks received 45¢ in every dollar billed and are regulated monopolies.
It criticises Queensland for allowing state-owned companies to “overinvest” in infrastructure, which the Newman Government has already addressed with a promised $580 million of savings over seven years by cutting network spending and bringing Energex and Ergon under a single management structure.
The proposed increase may also prompt the Government to reform generous solar power schemes.
Households will be slugged $240 annually to pay for the power produced by rooftop solar systems by 2015-16, almost 15 per cent of the total price.
The Government has cut the feed-in tariff available to new solar households from 44¢ a kilowatt hour to just 8¢.
But those with solar, who earned $850 on average last financial year, continue to avoid paying an equitable proportion of network costs despite needing the system to pump power back to the grid.
Additional reporting John Rolfe and Kate McKenna