BOWMAN MP Andrew Laming has accused the state government of profiteering from state-owned power stations.
He said the government owned 70 per cent of the state’s generators which were earning excessive profits.
“This is a secret energy tax on Queenslanders,” he said. “As households and businesses struggle with record power bills, Queensland’s state-owned power companies made an extra $269 million in profit last financial year to deliver a $1.65 billion dividend to the Palaszczuk Labor government.
“Record profits from government-owned generators are being taken from the pockets of Queensland families and small businesses straight into the Labor government coffers.”
Energy Minister Anthony Lynham hit back, saying Mr Laming’s comments showed the federal government chaos on energy.
“For a start, the $800 figure he uses relates only to South Australia,” he said. “Households and small businesses in the Redlands already have the energy trifecta – falling prices, reliable supply and a smooth transition underway to 50 per cent renewable energy.
“That’s because they still own our electricity assets and the dividends from those assets go back into driving down prices.
“As I told Parliament last week, the Australian Bureau of Statistics noted in the latest CPI that the Palaszczuk government’s Affordable Energy Plan was driving down electricity costs in Brisbane.”
He said Queenslanders had the lowest electricity prices on the eastern seaboard and only last week the Queensland Competition Authority confirmed that regional Queensland power prices had been on a downward trend since mid-last year after 43 per cent increases under the former LNP government.
Mr Laming said Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s plan for the electricity sector would see prices drop.
Last month Mr Morrison said the Coalition was prepared to use a big stick to stop energy companies gouging after the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said prices were too high.
The ACCC made recommendations on how to reduce costs, with the major move being the introduction of a base or default price in each jurisdiction.
Mr Morrison said a four-part package would be introduced to potentially save consumers about $800 a year.
He also would increase the regulator's power to crack down on anti-competitive practices and ensure power companies met energy demands
The move has been backed by ACCC boss Rod Sims but opposed by the Australian Energy Council, which represents 22 electricity and natural gas businesses.
Chief executive Sarah McNamara cast doubt on how much consumers would save, saying the ACCC said annual savings attributable to a default price would be between $105 and $165.
“This is much lower than the $832 savings per year suggested (by the PM). Savings of that magnitude are only available for a customer who switched from the highest priced offer in the market to the cheapest deal.
“For the majority ... the government's proposed default price won't lower bills.”
Mr Laming said Labor’s plan to introduce a 50 per cent Renewable Energy Target and 45 per cent Emissions Reduction Target was reckless and would damage the Redland economy.