Farmers Ask When?

Queensland Farmers’ Federation has welcomed the ACC’S detailed report into power costs but asks the question-When will we see change?

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President Stuart Armitage says farmers want to know what is going to change and when they will see affordable energy prices.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) released its final report into the retail electricity pricing inquiry this week again highlighting a broken energy system.

Mr Armitage says the Report largely tells farmers what they already know- That higher prices have placed enormous strain on business viability and the current situation is unsustainable.

“While the ACCC acknowledged the lowering of network prices from their peak in 2017 and increased retail competition leading to limited price decreases and some reduction in network tariffs, there has been no real or demonstrable decrease in Queensland’s farmers electricity bills.”

“According to the Australian Energy Regulator, there was an 82% increase in the number of small businesses disconnected by Ergon Retail last financial year. This comes as no surprise with some farmers on the receiving end of electricity cost increases of more than 200% in 10, while CPI has increased by just 24% over the same period.”

“And based on current state government policy and tariff offerings, many regional customers face further bill increases in excess of 50% when they are forced on to standard business demand-based tariffs in less than two years.”

QFF says it’s hopeful the ACCC’s recommendations that go before the state governments via the COAG Energy Council are accepted.

“These recommendations would likely have a positive impact on regional businesses, including the agriculture sector.”

“This support, and changes to regulatory structures, policies and budgets occur, cannot happen soon enough for Queensland’s agricultural sector.”

“If action is not taken, unsustainable electricity price increases and lagging productivity will result in more expensive food and fibre and a loss of international competitiveness”.