THE difference between what the politically favoured south east corner and the rest of Queensland pays for electricity is set to increase further, with electricity retailers increasing the level of discounts for urban consumers.
From today (Monday), Alinta Energy has increased its discount on energy usage rates for its 100,000-plus customers in South East Queensland from 25 per cent to 28pc.
The move was trumpeted by Energy Minister Anthony Lynham, who said the new deal is worth about $400 a year to an average customer in South East Queensland.
That compares dramatically with what the rest of Queensland can expect. The best an eligible household is the bush can hope for is a $75 a year discount from Ergon Energy.
Last month the Queensland Competition Authority revealed that households located outside the politically favoured Brisbane region were already paying up to $500 more a year for their electricity.
All Queenslanders deserve cheaper electricity.
According to the QCA, competition in South East Queensland had delivered saving of up to $588 for households. The saving increases to up to $1072 for small businesses, the report says.
For households outside the state’s most populous region the only discounts available are $75 a year for households and $120 a year for small businesses, which take up monthly billing options with the government-owned Ergon Energy.
Adding to the pain for the bush is that electricity prices will increase by the average rate of inflation for the next years.
Dr Lynham is one the Palaszczuk’s government 16 Brisbane based ministers. The only other government ministers represent urban electorates in Townsville and Cairns.
Liberal National Party Shadow Energy Minister Michael Hart said regional Queenslanders are paying more because Labor would not introduce competition.
“Labor have stitched up a deal to help the south east but won’t lift a finger for the rest of Queensland,” Mr Hart said.
“In regional Queensland they miss out altogether on the Alinta deal. All Queenslanders deserve cheaper electricity.
"Labor has ignored the recommendations of its own Productivity Commission to introduce competition into the retail electricity market.
“Labor need to focus on cheaper electricity for all and end the money merry-go-round.”
Dr Lynham said he encouraged South East Queenslanders to shop around and choose the electricity retailer that offered the best deal.
“Almost every SEQ electricity retailer has signed up to our Affordable Energy Pledge to pass on all the savings to consumers that the government is making in our publicly-owned electricity system,” Mr Lynham said.
“We are mounting an all-out attack on electricity prices: consumers (need) to make sure they aren’t missing out,” he said.