QCA releases final report on regulated retail electricity prices

Queensland residents are facing a 7.1 per cent increase of their annual electricity bill, according to the Queensland Competition Authority’s (QCA) final report on regulated retail electricity prices (regulated prices) for regional Queensland in 2017‐18.

The QCA began its review of regulated prices in November 2016 under a delegation from the Minister for Energy, Biofuels and Water Supply, the Honourable Mark Bailey MP.

“In conducting this review, the QCA has followed a process that involves detailed analysis and public consultation,” QCA chair Professor Roy Green said.

“The QCA is required to determine regulated prices objectively and in compliance with the relevant legal framework.

“Consistent with that framework, our final decision is based on network charges regulated by the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) and the latest information from competitive wholesale and retail electricity markets.

“From our consultation, we understand that affordability is an issue for a number of customers.

“However, we are limited in our ability to consider issues of affordability under the legal framework for setting regulated prices.

“But it is important to note that the regulated prices for residential and small business customers in regional Queensland reflect the Government’s Uniform Tariff Policy, which sets prices for these customers so they are on par with lower‐cost electricity prices in the south east of the state.”

The annual bill for a typical customer on the main residential tariff is expected to increase by 7.1 per cent from $1490 to $1595 as a result of the QCA’s decision.

For the typical customer on the main small business tariff, the annual increase is expected to be 8.2 per cent (from $2449 to $2649).

“The higher regulated prices are primarily due to substantial increases in wholesale energy costs, which have been driven by a projected tightening in the demand–supply balance within the National Electricity Market,” Professor Green said.

“A number of factors have contributed to this tightening, including the increased demand from electricity‐intensive in‐field gas compression associated with the LNG export facilities, and the closure of Hazelwood power station in Victoria.”