Business sustainability programs vital to good ecoBiz
Queensland small businesses are once again facing an electricity price hike this year with the Queensland Competition Authority (QCA) releasing its final determination on notified prices for Regional Queensland. An 8.2 per cent rise has been indicated, sending shockwaves throughout the business community.
Mum-and-dad, family operated businesses must face the reality of sitting down and reviewing their operational costs and asking themselves: “Can we stay open?” and “What can we do about it?”
The Queensland Government, in response to the hike, heeded CCIQ advice and suspended the Solar Bonus Scheme for the next three years on consumer’s bills and absorbed the input cost. This action is predicted to reduce the price hike from 8.2 per cent to 4.1 per cent.
Although a step in the right direction, the initiative won’t put downward pressure on prices – it merely reduces the increase, leaving businesses exposed to finding extra money in the till to cover the price hike.
The absorbed input cost will be coming off consumer’s bills, but taxpayers will still be paying for the subsidies, just through their taxes.
While Queenslanders wait for action from State and Federal Governments to bring electricity prices down in the short and long term, small businesses are encouraged to take advantage of current programs to assist with reducing energy usage and achieving real financial outcomes.
EcoBiz, a CCIQ initiative in partnership with the State Government, has been a raging success for the past three-and-a-half years. Businesses have reduced energy consumption by 35 per cent, water by 34 per cent and waste by 37 per cent. This translates to 16 per cent saving on average off their bills.
What makes this program a success is that it puts the business owners in the driver’s seat, supported by one-on-one coaching, an “eco” audit which provides benchmarking and advice on how to achieve goals, and regular webinars and seminars.
Queensland small businesses are the engine room of the state’s economy. If just 20 per cent of small businesses were involved with ecoBiz and were achieving the averages the program is seeing, $2.36 billion would be saved on electricity costs alone, $2.8 billion on energy, water and waste altogether. These savings could be poured back into local economies with job creation, innovation and investment. A boost to the whole Queensland economy.
- 100 businesses have achieved their goals as Star Partners of the ecoBiz program
- 700 businesses have had one-on-one coaching
- 2000 businesses have interacted with online tools and webinars
In a period of increasing electricity prices, every dollar saved is the difference between opening and shutting the doors for good.
The State Government needs to continue supporting education initiatives which promote commercial and sustainable usage, in turn bringing down operational costs, providing an environmental benefit and boosting the economy.
Other cost cutting measures, as outlined in CCIQ’s State Budget Submission released today, include:
- Introduce retail competition to Regional Queensland
- Reduce revenue from transmission and distribution networks
- End the Solar Bonus Scheme
CCIQ is convinced there are measures that could be taken by governments at all levels to help solve the energy pricing nightmare many small businesses face. It is vital they act sooner rather than later.