Laws deregulating Queensland’s retail power sector are expected to pass state parliament on Wednesday night.
Queensland’s government is soon expected to pass laws deregulating the retail power sector, but it insists consumers will be protected.
The Newman government hopes the Electricity Competition and Protection Legislation Amendment Act 2014 and the National Energy Retail Law (Queensland) Act will spur competition and lower household power bills.
Concerns have been raised that consumers will be left to the mercy of power companies, but Energy Minister Mark McArdle says that is not the case.
He says the laws will set up a new monitoring regime to ensure every consumer is protected.
“While government will no longer have a role in regulating prices in the southeast, it will remain a key market oversight,” he told parliament.
Mr McArdle said power companies would be required to provide a range of payment options for customers who struggled to pay their bills.
“Disconnection of a small customer for non-payment only occurs after all other efforts have been exhausted,” he said.
Mr McArdle also said consumers who were taking part in financial hardship programs would not be charged late payment fees.
The laws will remove retail price regulation, establish a market monitoring regime, remove retail authorities, remove special approvals for the sale of electricity and bring the state’s laws into line with federal laws.
Under the laws, the Queensland Competition Authority will stop regulating electricity tariffs from July 1, 2015.