Our Plan for Cheaper Electricity and Fuel – Introduce Regional Competition

THE PROBLEM

While Labor presides over record high electricity prices, regional Queenslanders are struggling to make ends meet.

The LNP introduced competition into the retail electricity market for Southeast Queensland. Labor delayed this reform, costing households around $400 a year.

Annastacia Palaszczuk and Labor commissioned a report into electricity prices but have ignored key recommendations that would introduce competition in the market for regional Queenslanders. In 2016, the Queensland Productivity Commission recommended increased retail competition in regional Queensland.

This is because Ergon retail has an effective monopoly in regional areas, which is expensive for taxpayers and a barrier to retail competition. It seems crazy that Labor are sitting on the recommendations of a review that they established, rather than providing electricity price relief for businesses and households. It’s another element in Labor’s great electricity rip-off and a further kick in the guts for regional Queensland from a Brisbane-centric Labor Government.

OUR SOLUTION

The LNP will end Labor’s electricity divide between the southeast and the rest of Queensland. We don’t think it’s good enough that Queenslanders north of Gympie and from Toowoomba west are treated like second-class citizens.

If elected, the LNP will implement the recommendations of Labor’s own productivity commission report into electricity pricing, to introduce retail competition into the regional electricity market. The LNP believes competition will drive down prices.

We will do this by providing a community service obligation (CSO) to Ergon Energy’s distribution business to reduce the cost of energy distribution across regional Queensland, making it more attractive for retail operators to compete against Ergon’s retail business.

According to the Productivity Commission, that will deliver around $303 million in benefits over the initial five-year period due to price discounting and promoting competition. This would also maintain the Uniform Tariff Policy (UTP), which supports economic development by levelling the playing field for businesses operating in the regions.

Providing retail competition to the regions would ensure that all Queenslanders are given an opportunity to reduce their skyrocketing electricity bills, not just those living in the southeast. Giving households the opportunity to shop around should save them around $300 a year.

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