FAMILIES in Queensland will get up to $300 cash back when they buy power efficient household appliances and will have $50 slashed from their yearly electricity bills under the state government’s $2 billion Affordable Energy Plan.
The move will see all the dividends from the state’s publicly-owned electricity assets reinvested in an all-out attack on affordability, while Queenslanders wait for the Prime Minister’s proposed National Energy Guarantee.
The Affordable Energy Plan features $300 million of new initiatives which will come into effect from 1 January 2018.
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Under the plan, the government says it will reimburse 100,000 households up to $300 when they purchase an energy efficient fridge, washing machine or air conditioner.
An Asset Ownership Dividend of $50 a year will also be slashed from every household bill for the next two years.
Meanwhile, annual discounts of up to $75 for households and $120 for small businesses that take up monthly billing options will be made available for regional Ergon customers.
Another $41 million in additional affordability measures will also be rolled out.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the rebates and discounts were all part of a comprehensive package of measures to tackle the challenge of electricity bills.
“Owning our power assets gives us a unique ability to reinvest all the dividends in making electricity more affordable, something other states that have sold off their generators, poles and wires cannot do,” the Premier said.
“In June, we reinvested $770 million in dividends to keep average household price rises to 3.3% this year – lower than any other mainland State in the National Electricity Market, some of which have seen prices increase by up to 20%.
“That helps Queenslanders, but I know the price of power is hurting a lot of families. That’s why we are doing more.
“Our Plan will save Queenslanders – on their bills and on their electricity use.”
The Premier said the Affordable Energy Plan will ensure typical Queensland households and small businesses will see no increase in their power bills above average inflation over the next two years.
“We look forward to seeing the detail of Malcolm Turnbull’s National Energy Guarantee, but it won’t start delivering promised savings until two years from now.
“We won’t wait – we will deliver real, measurable savings to Queenslanders.”
“While we have limited price increases, the pain from the 43% increase under the LNP has hurt households and businesses.”
Furthermore, the Premier will this week summon energy retailers to a meeting, where she’ll demand they pass on the full savings, or face being undercut by a new publicly-owned electricity retailer.
“With our fleet of young and efficient coal and gas-fired generators and adding large-scale solar, we’re producing the cheapest and most reliable wholesale electricity in mainland Australia,” the Premier said.
“The consumer watchdog is clear – some retailers in the South-East are taking Queenslanders for a ride.
“I will be calling South-East Queensland energy retailers in for a meeting this week.
“If they don’t immediately agree to pass on savings in full, we will go back into the retail market.
“We’ve already seen the great deals being offered by Alinta in conjunction with Queensland-owned generator CS Energy.
“Alinta was just a start. I’m prepared to re-enter the retail market. We can do it and only Queensland can do it — we own power stations, poles and wires.
“The next move is up to the retailers – and the clock is ticking.”
Energy Minister Mark Bailey said the suite of measures demonstrated the Government’s commitment to keep building on the work done through the $1.16 billion Powering Queensland Plan announced in June.
“When we launched the Powering Queensland Plan, wholesale prices dropped overnight and have stayed down,” Minister Bailey said.
“Those lower prices should be passed on to consumers.
“Queenslanders shouldn’t be paying higher prices because of the failure of privatisation and generation shortfalls in other States.
“That’s why we are calling for a rewrite of the rules of the broken National Electricity Market.”
To view the state government’s energy saving tips, click here.