Electricity bills in Queensland will rise by an average of $191 this financial year.
Queenslanders face a dramatic hike in power bills with the start of the new financial year, and households with solar panels are also likely to take a hit to the hip pocket.
The average power bill is expected to rise by $191, or 13.6 per cent, pushed up by green policies and the increasing cost of poles, wires, and electricity generation.
However, prices will only go up by about 5.1 per cent if the federal government’s carbon tax is repealed.
Queensland’s Energy Minister Mark McArdle has blamed much of the hike on the former Labor government’s over-investment in the power distribution network.
“Every power bill that is issued, 54 per cent of that bill relates to the cost of poles and wires – the gold-plated legacy of Labor that we’re now having to unravel,” Mr McArdle told ABC radio.
Pensioners and seniors will be able to apply for an electricity rebate of $320 after the government upped concessions to $165 million for this financial year.
“The Queensland government promised to lower the cost of living wherever we could and we’re making sure that pensioners and other vulnerable Queenslanders get some relief on household costs,” Mr McArdle said.
Consumers are forking out 50 per cent more for electricity than they did three years ago, and shadow treasurer Curtis Pitt says price hikes under the Newman government total $560.
“Campbell Newman arrogantly promised to lower Queenslanders’ electricity bills, yet ever since he’s become premier they’ve just gone up and up and up,” he said.
This financial year, about 50,000 homeowners who have solar panels will no longer be guaranteed a feed-in tariff of eight cents.
Government-owned distributors will no longer be responsible for paying the tariff and households will have to negotiate directly with electricity retailers for the price they are paid for the solar power they generate.
The 44 cent tariff, paid to some 284,000 people who were first to sign up to the scheme, will remain unchanged.
Australian Solar Council chief executive John Grimes says consumers need to shop around, or join forces to negotiate as a block with electricity retailers.
“As an independent customer, with an average-size system on your roof, you really have little leverage when talking to a utility,” Mr Grimes told ABC radio.