The Queensland government is set to switch responsibility for householder feed-in tariff payments from government-owned distributors to private retailers.
Queensland homeowners who use solar panels could be worse off under laws that will no longer guarantee them a feed-in tariff of eight cents.
Laws due to be passed on Wednesday night will mean the responsibility for paying the tariff will switch from government-owned distributors to retailers after June 30.
And consumers will have to negotiate directly with their retailer for the price they are paid.
The Queensland Competition Authority will set a tariff rate for Ergon Energy customers in the immediate future, given the very limited competition outside the southeast corner.
Energy Minister Mark McArdle says the changes will lift the cost burden from the network businesses, making the scheme fairer for all Queensland consumers.
“It will put downward pressure on electricity prices,” Mr McArdle told parliament.
“Feed-in tariff payments will not be cross subsidised by consumers, making the arrangement far more sustainable over the long term.”
Electrical Trades Union state organiser Stuart Traill says the 40,000 consumers on the eight cents feed-in tariff will have little to no bargaining power with large energy corporations.
“They will be worse off, and a lot of them will be pensioners,” he told AAP.
“And there will be job losses in the solar industry because there will be less incentives to move to solar now.”
Mr Traill added the plan was ill considered, and the returns would be minuscule compared to how much could have been saved if the 44 cent feed-in tariff had been reformed.
The 44 cent tariff, paid to some 284,000 people who were first to sign up to the scheme, will remain unchanged.
Shadow Treasurer Curtis Pitt said the opposition would not oppose the bill but said the Newman government had broken an election promise.
“The LNP promised the scheme would be safe and kept at the same rate,” Mr Pitt told parliament.