QCA – Final Determination: eliminates competition and leaves QLD customers paying more

Energy Minister Mark McArdle is doing a very bad job at attempting to pull the wool over the eyes of Queenslanders.  The latest (and final) pricing determination by the QCA is ignoring Tariff 11 (the electricity tariff supporting every home owner) but it is focussing on everything else.

What Mr McArdle appears to be unaware of is that the changes being put in place for Tariff 31 and 33 customers (off peak and dedicated supply usage) is going up in a 'best case' scenario by up to 25% and worst case by up to 45%.  Sadly the minister still feels the need to suggest that very little movement in pricing is down to the State, and trying to slap the blame squarely on the shoulders of the federal 'Carbon Tax'.

It's a gross misrepresentation of what's happening, and utterly misleading to the general public.  The state government and the QCA need to be held accountable, and the ACCC is the only authority who should be engaging in this matter.  The key is to be clear around the facts:

- Tariff 11 is being 'Price Frozen' for 12 months

- Carbon Tax will increase bills be 10%

- QCA Pricing Determination will implement new severe price controls on retailers, which will shut down the current level of competition between retailers

- All discounts currently available to customers will be removed from July 1

- Energex will increase the underlying network cost of Tariff 11 - the government may foot this bill (circa $110m - but has only estimated a $60m bill...)

- Tariff 11 will increase by up to 20% (this includes the Carbon Tax and the likely removal of consumer discounts)

- Tariff 31 and 33 will increase by up to 45% (this includes the Carbon Tax and the likely removal of consumer discounts)

- Tariff 20 (Small Business tariff) will increase by up to 5% (this includes the Carbon Tax and the likely removal of consumer discounts)

The sweeping and generic 'Price Freeze' ambitions of the government are deceptive and misleading - with comments like "Homes that have tariff 31 and 33 are going up about 10 per cent, mainly because of the carbon tax predominantly" from Mr McArdle, smacks of an Energy Minister who is clearly ill informed of the real and serious impacts his regulator is making on Queensland homeowners.

Prices are going up, and the government is pushing the Price Freeze propaganda in the hope that voters will buy their election promise, and ignore the seriously bill elephant (in the form of a whacking great price increase) which is going to hit their doormat on July 1.

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