Cairns businesses and farmers wanted for power-bill survey

QEUN's electricity prices and Jobkeeper survey extended to Wednesday 21 April

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Queensland Electricity Users Network (QEUN) is seeking participation from businesses and farmers in the Cairns region to undertake a survey on how they're coping with power bills now that JobKeeper has ended.

Queensland Electricity Users Network (QEUN) is seeking participation from businesses and farmers in the Cairns region to undertake a survey on how they're coping with power bills now that JobKeeper has ended.

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Businesses and farmers in the Cairns region are urged to voice their concerns on Ergon electricity prices and tariffs.

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Cairns businesses and farmers are urged to voice their concerns on how the end of JobKeeper could impact on the payment of their power bills.

The deadline for the Queensland Electricity Users Network survey Ergon power bills and tariffs.has been extended to Wednesday 21 April.

The Queensland Competition Authority (QCA) is in the process of setting the electricity prices and tariffs to be charged to Ergon customers from 1st July this year.

Ergon has a near monopoly on over 720,000 business and residential customers in regional Queensland.

Queensland Electricity Users Network (QEUN) coordinator Jennifer Brownie said the two-minute survey has been extended to Wednesday 21 April.

"We are conscious of the time constraints faced by businesses and have ensured the survey can be completed in 2 minutes," Ms Brownie said.

"We know businesses and farmers don't have time to write submissions to the QCA and the Queensland Government but their participation in this survey will give them a voice on Ergon power bills and tariffs.

The Queensland Electricity Users Network is a network of regional Queensland electricity users including local government, Chambers of Commerce, tourism operators, irrigation farmers and more.

Ms Brownie said it was critical the Queensland Competition Authority and the Queensland Government understand how businesses and farmers in region are coping with power bills now that JobKeeper has ended.

"The ability to pay power bills is a strong indicator of how well the economic recovery from COVID-19 is progressing in Queensland," she said.

The survey results will be included in the QEUN's submission to the Queensland Competition Authority next week.

The impact of higher power bills on businesses and farmers. Graph: QEUN (Queensland Electricity Users Network)

The impact of higher power bills on businesses and farmers. Graph: QEUN (Queensland Electricity Users Network)

Cairns Chamber of Commerce president Sally Mlikota urged Cairns businesses and farmers to get behind the survey.

"The Queensland Government owns 100% of Ergon. This survey provides a quick and easy opportunity for businesses in the Cairns region to let the Queensland Government know how they are coping with Ergon power bills and Ergon's current range of electricity tariffs."

Tourism Tropical North Queensland CEO Mark Olsen, said local business faced the full brunt of the global pandemic.

"Visitor numbers are improving, however, operators are still dealing with the cost of COVID-19 closures to their business and this survey could shed light on whether assistance is needed with power bills."

Mareeba Chamber of Commerce and FNQ Growers president Joe Moro said participation in the QEUN survey will provide an insight into how businesses are currently coping with their power bills.

"Prior to COVID-19 a QEUN survey of over 200 businesses and farmers in the Mareeba Council area found they were struggling with power bills," Mr Moro said.

Queensland Farmers' Federation CEO Dr Georgina Davis, said the survey results will provide a powerful insight into the understanding of electricity billing practices and electricity bills.

This insight then assists advocacy bodies such as Queensland Farmers' Federation campaign for better outcomes for business," Dr Davis said.

The QEUN survey is seeking responses from a wide range of businesses and farmers regardless of whether they had staff on JobKeeper or not.

The QEUN have committed to share the survey results with peak business and farming organisations.

The survey is open to all businesses and farmers in the Cairns region.

If you live outside the Cairns region and want to voice your concern on Ergon electricity prices and tariffs in North Queensland, submit a submission at https://www.qca.org.au/submissions/ before the 24 April.

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