Queensland farmers to trial new electricity tariffs

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Farmers in Queensland have been encouraged to participate in a new tariff trial to help Ergon better understand business electricity needs and demands in rural areas.

Around 200 farmers will participate in the trial as part of the Palaszczuk Government’s $10 million Regional Business Support Package to help stabilise regional power bills.

Minister for Energy Mark Bailey said farmers have the chance to trial off-peak and demand-based electricity tariffs.

“These trials respond to requests from the agricultural sector for consideration of other tariff options to better suit the needs of primary producers,” Mr Bailey said.

“Energy Queensland through Ergon Energy is now recruiting up to 200 farmers to participate in three separate trials and aims to achieve a diverse and representative selection in each trial group.

“The goal is to help Ergon better understand the potential for offering controlled load and seasonal demand tariffs as an alternative to the current transitional agricultural tariffs due to expire in 2020.”

The Queensland Farmers’ Federation has been involved in planning the trial along with Canegrowers and Cotton Australia.

QFF president Stuart Armitage said the cost of electricity continued to be the number one concern for the intensive agriculture sector, with many farms seeing unsustainable price increases.

“The sector hopes this tariff trial will provide the information needed to determine what the real impacts of load controlled and seasonal demand tariffs are, as current agricultural tariffs are phased out,” he said.

“QFF will be working with industry, Ergon Energy and the government to assist in finding a solution to electricity prices affecting farmers throughout the state.”

The first two trials are set to run until June next year and the third trial until June 2019.

Further information and application forms are available on the Ergon website.

Applications must be submitted by March 24.