Who Really Profits From Power Bill Increases In Queensland?

While the Queensland Government may ‘tch, tch’ about skyrocketing electricity prices and point its finger at the solar scapegoat; it seems a major beneficiary of price hikes is .. the Queensland Government.
   
As we’ve already determined, the major culprit in Queensland’s power price woes is not solar power, but network charges – poles and wires. But it runs a little deeper than that.
  
An analysis carried out by energy economics consultancy firm CME states the large increases in power prices have also delivered large financial benefits to the Queensland Government – a compounding 114% growth in financial returns every year.
  
The report notes four reasons why the Queensland Government should reduce network charges, and in doing so, slash the price of price of electricity in Queensland:
 
– Queensland’s networks are state owned and should deliver electricity cheaper
 
– Regulated asset values are inflated
 
– Less is being spent, but more is being collected by the Government
 
– Assets are being stranded while the Queensland Government has a guaranteed and substantial return.
 
The report, “Rising electricity prices in Queensland: Evidence and Reasons for Action” can be viewed in full here (PDF). Further discussion of the issue can be viewed on RenewEconomy.
  
The study was undertaken on behalf of the Queensland Cane Growers Association, whose members, like all electricity consumers in the state, face massive hikes in their power bills. 
  
According to the Association, irrigated growers will face an average estimated loss of income of $7,500 – $30,000 per year if the Queensland Competition Authority’s recent recommendations are implemented. The Association says cost of electricity has doubled for farmers in the past seven years and at this rate will more than triple in the next seven. 
  
Failing the appearance of any relief, the dire situation will perhaps make commercial solar something more farmers in the state will consider.