Queensland electricians to compete against giant new state-owned energy business

Electrician

Queensland electricians will now have to compete with a new state-owned energy business offering services to households, according to the Courier-Mail.

The Palaszczuk government has just confirmed plans to implement the publicly-funded business within a few months.

It will offer electrical services such as meter box maintenance and solar panel installations.

The company will be spun from Energex and Ergon Energy, whose increased costs have been crunched by the Australian Energy Regulator.

The move will limit the number of redundancies required to cut costs, appeasing the Electrical Trades Union.

Master Electricians Australia chief executive Malcolm Richards told the Courier-Mail he is horrified by the government’s plan and strongly believes the net result will be small mum and dad contractors going broke.

“And there will be price increases for customers when the smaller contractors are forced out of the market place because they can’t compete,” Mr Richards said.

He also illustrated the potential conflict of interest in the government in being both the approver and supplier, given the limit of the number of solar installations allowed on suburban streets.

“You can only imagine a situation where Ergon has an application and private contractor has an application and they can only say yes to one,” he said.

“Who do you think they’re going to pick?”

MEA has already written to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission regarding Ergon already offering solar solutions, according to the Courier-Mail.

There are 10,000 licensed electricians in Queensland with approximately 1200 accredited to conduct solar installations.

The government announced it does not know how many workers would be transferred from Energex and Ergon, but has previously mentioned employing an additional 500 over the next decade.

A government spokesman told the Courier-Mail the business will be created to take advantage of the opportunities of emerging technologies and the changing energy industry.