QLD should rethink solar scheme and seniors’ rebates, says energy report
In an effort to push the electricity costs down in Queensland, a draft report by the Queensland Productivity Commission (QPC) recommends that the State Government consider an early exit of the solar bonus scheme, to cut back on power rebates for seniors and further deregulate electricity prices in Southeast Queensland.
These recommendations were part of Electricity Pricing Inquiry Draft Report released on Wednesday. The report comes after the QPC was asked to find ways to put downward pressure on electricity prices, which have risen by 87 per cent since 2006-07.
Here’s a snapshot of the draft recommendations made by the QPC:
Solar bonus scheme: The Queensland Government should consider the merits of an earlier end to the Solar Bonus Scheme than the planned 2028 scheme closure
Deregulation of the SEQ: Deregulation of the SEQ retail electricity market should commence as planned on 1 July 2016
Competition in regional Queensland: A date of no later than 1 July 2019 should be considered for the implementation of a network community service obligations (CSOs) and retail competition for regional Queensland
Electricity concessions framework: The Queensland Government should extend eligibility for the general Electricity Rebate to recipients of the Commonwealth Government Health Care Card as soon as practicable and remove access to the general Electricity Rebate for Queensland Seniors Card holders.
Some of the recommendations however have already been ruled out by the QLD government. For instance, Queensland Treasurer Curtis Pitt said that the State Government would not make any changes to the feed-in tariff, reported abc.net.au.
Mr Pitt also reaffirmed the Government's commitment to a 50 per cent Renewable Energy Target (RET) by 2030.
"As a Government, we have to be leading the way, so we are going to be sticking with our commitment," he said.
But, according to The Advertiser, the government remained open to the commission's suggestion that an annual rebate of $320.97 be taken away from Queensland Seniors Card holders.
The draft report suggests that the QSC is not means-tested, which means that anyone over the age of 65, regardless of income (and need) can access the electricity rebate.
While the government is yet to take a decision on deregulating the energy market in SEQ, if you live in the suburbs of Brisbane, the Gold Coast or other areas of Queensland where there is a deregulated energy market, you can take advantage of Mozo’s electricity comparison tool to find a plan that can save you money on your power bill.
In fact, according to Mozo’s calculations, the average electricity bill for a 3 people household in the 4000 postcodes of Brisbane is $439 per quarter, whereas the cheapest plan costs $410. This could lead to an easy annual saving of $116 simply by switching your plan.