Queensland Government department and corporations are enjoying cheaper electricity on soon-to-be obsolete tariffs, while farmers are being told to use more expensive business tariffs.
It has been revealed that more than 761 taxpayer-funded government energy users are using Ergon Energy’s obsolete transitional tariffs (T20, 21, 22, 37, 62, 65 and 66) despite their termination from 1 July 2020.*
The furore over the impending tariff crisis post-2020 has angered Queensland’s farmers and irrigators, with the new business tariffs set to push farm electricity bills even higher putting more pressure on rural and regional businesses.
Liberal National Party Shadow Agriculture Minister Tony Perrett said electricity costs for Queensland farmers remained one of the industry’s unresolved flashpoints.
“The Labor Minister responsible for energy prices has been preaching that farmers should be restructuring their businesses to accommodate the tariff changes post-2020 – but his government is not transitioning because the numbers just don’t add up.**
“You can’t tell farmers to change their energy tariffs, insisting it will be cheaper for them, while not changing over your own accounts.
“Quite obviously the economics behind these business tariffs don’t add up, that’s why both farmers and government departments alike are not transitioning.
“How out of touch is the Minister to be telling farmers to suck it up while refusing to put his own house in order?
“The worst part of this hypocrisy is that the government-owned corporation charged with managing the state’s water assets, SunWater, is still accessing more than 97 obsolete tariffs as they know it’s the only way they can deliver the best price for its irrigation customers.”
In 2016, the Queensland Competition Authority identified that there were about 42,000 regional businesses on eight different tariffs classified as transitional or obsolete.
About 17,400 of these connections are for farming and irrigation purposes.
“….Tariffs 62, 65 and 66 will all be phased out on 1 July 2020. I advise the honourable member that many canegrowers will be better off now under a business tariff. I ask them to please contact their electricity retailer right now, because a lot of them—some 40 per cent of them—would be better off under a business tariff, rather than on the transitional tariff going through….”