CCIQ calls for big solutions on electricity – not just another empty review
The small business community anxiously awaits the release of the Queensland Productivity Commission (QPC) Draft Report on electricity pricing on Friday.
The Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ) provided a submission to the QPC Issues Paper for electricity pricing in Queensland, expressing its concerns and recommendations.
CCIQ Director of Advocacy Nick Behrens said electricity price rises since 2007 had taken a toll on small businesses, with an effective doubling in prices across this period.
“This in turn impacts on Queensland’s economy as increases in the price of power escalate the cost of doing business and the cost of all goods and services in Queensland,” he said.
The objective of the QPC inquiry was to examine electricity pricing in Queensland and provide the State Government with options that could improve outcomes for consumers.
Inquiry objectives included:
- A competitive electricity market;
- Productivity growth in the energy industry and among energy users;
- Appropriate reliability, safety and security of electricity supply;
- Efficient investment and operation of electricity infrastructure;
- Environmental outcomes;
- Fairness and equity;
- Minimising impacts on vulnerable customers; and
- Responsible and measured management of the state’s finances.
Mr Behrens said CCIQ made several recommendations to the QPC through its submission on the Issues Paper, including on the following topics:
Distribution Revenue Determination Outcome: CCIQ recommends that more efficiencies can be found across network businesses through the AER’s revenue determination process to achieve lower electricity prices for Queensland businesses.
Solar Bonus Scheme: CCIQ recommends that the Queensland Government seek to remove the legacy cost of the 44c Solar Bonus Scheme. CCIQ recommends that the State Government should not implement any future rebates to incentivise the uptake of solar.
Retail Price Deregulation in South East Queensland: CCIQ urges the State Government to proceed with market monitoring on 1 July 2016. The government should immediately confirm this outcome with consumers in February 2016.
Uniform Tariff Policy and Regional Competition: CCIQ supports retaining the Uniform Tariff Policy. CCIQ supports shifting the allocation of the Uniform Tariff Policy payments from Ergon Energy Retail to a network based Community Service Obligation. CCIQ supports the retention of the UTP on the basis of encouraging regional development and uniformity of operating costs for small businesses regardless of location.
Network Tariff Reform: CCIQ recommends that the network businesses focus on collecting more customer load profile data for small businesses as part of the network tariff reform process.
Reduced Demand: CCIQ recommends that the QPC investigate stranded assets and examine the overall value of the Regulatory Asset Base.
Asset Privatisation: CCIQ recommends the debate on asset ownership should be considered as part of the options presented to government to achieve reduced costs for Queensland small businesses.
Energy Company Merger: CCIQ recommends against the merger of generation companies Powerlink, CS Energy and Stanwell.
“CCIQ hopes the QPC responds to the concerns impacting Queensland small business,” Mr Behrens said.
“CCIQ believes the energy sector must deliver greater certainty, operational efficiency, future focused planning and investment, and be harmonised with energy efficiency policy.
“Above all, it must be conducive to and support business and economic growth in Queensland.
“With over two dozen inquiries into electricity in recent years, CCIQ is hoping for big things from this review.
“It would be a shame for another review to occur that does not materially change unsustainable electricity price increases.”
UPDATE FRIDAY JANUARY 29
Revised release date
Electricity Pricing Inquiry Draft Report
We are updating stakeholders about the progress of the Electricity Pricing Inquiry. The Terms of Reference for this Inquiry requires a Draft Report be published by the end of January 2016. We have experienced a slight delay and the Draft Report will be released in early February 2016.