26 September 2023

QCA warns of electricity price rises

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The Queensland Competition Authority (QCA) has released its draft determination on regulated retail electricity prices.

The determination will apply to standard contract customers in regional Queensland from 1 July.

Chair of the QCA, Flavio Menezes said this year’s draft determination forecasts higher electricity prices for customers in regional Queensland.

“The significant increase in draft prices is mainly due to an increase in forecast energy costs — in particular, wholesale energy costs, which are the costs that retailers incur when purchasing electricity from the National Electricity Market (NEM),” Professor Menezes said.

He said the QCA’s wholesale energy cost estimates reflected a significant increase in contract prices, driven by market expectations of higher spot prices and greater price volatility.

“This is likely due to higher coal and gas prices, which have been impacted by the war in Ukraine, as well as uncertainty around the availability and reliability of coal-fired power plants, which impacts the supply-demand balance in the Queensland region,” Professor Menezes said.

He said that overall, the draft prices would result in a 28.9 per cent increase in the annual bill for a typical residential customer and a 26.1 per cent increase for the typical small business customer.

“The annual bill for a typical residential customer is forecast to increase by $432, from $1,496 to $1,928. For the typical small business customer, the annual bill is forecast to increase by $497, from $1,907 to $2,404,” the QCA Chair said.

He acknowledged that the expected increases could place additional pressure on households and businesses that were already facing cost-of-living challenges.

“I strongly encourage customers facing hardship to contact their retailer to discuss support measures that may be available to them,” Professor Menezes said.

“There are a range of Government concessions, rebates and other forms of assistance available,” he said.

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