Around 1,700 farmers, businesses and manufacturers will be supported to maintain and grow jobs in regional Queensland with $52.3 million in electricity rebates from the Palaszczuk Government.
Minister for Energy, Renewables and Hydrogen Mick de Brenni said under the Electricity Tariff Adjustment Scheme (ETAS), new rebates will be automatically applied to eligible energy accounts from July 1.
“Many customers have and will continue to see savings by changing to standard tariffs,” Mr de Brenni said.
“But we understand the change may be challenging for some, which is why we’re delivering the ETAS to help ease any financial pressures while businesses adapt and to protect regional jobs.
“The rebates will be applied for regional farmers, businesses and manufacturers whose annual power bills are impacted when switching to a standard tariff.
“ETAS will support employers by ensuring their viability, by helping them to grow and create jobs, with figures showing the scheme will support 1,700 regional Queensland businesses and farmers.”
All obsolete tariffs (except tariffs 47 and 48) will cease on 30 June 2021, and customers on these tariffs will automatically switch to a standard business tariff from 1 July 2021.
Since 2016, around 12,000 regional businesses and farmers have been offered a better deal by switching to a standard tariff, and many more will also be better off when everyone is automatically switched over.
Minister de Brenni said the new rebate would be calculated based on each individual customer’s bill impact and will be tiered to initially cover most of the impact and then taper off over up to nine years as power prices continue to fall.
“Ergon Energy Retail will analyse existing bill data of around 20,000 regional farmers and businesses that are currently still on obsolete tariffs to identify eligible customers,” he said.
“From July 2021, Ergon will start implementing the rebates and contact eligible customers to provide them with details about the scheme. Customers don’t need to do anything until then.”
Cotton Australia’s Michael Murray said the scheme would support growers and irrigators across regional Queensland.
“Queensland is one of Australia’s largest producers of cotton, supporting thousands of jobs in regional Queensland,” Mr Murray said.
“Affordable and reliable energy supply is critical for our members to export their world-class products across the globe, so these rebates are a welcomed relief.”
Australian Foundry Institute’s Joe Vecchio said the rebates would keep the furnaces firing and Queenslanders on the tools.
“Foundries are critical to the Queensland economy, supporting thousands of local jobs,” he said.
“Any proposal that keeps their power prices low and keeps their doors open is great news for the industry.”
The Queensland Competition Authority (QCA) has also confirmed the biggest drop of regional power prices in 16 years, with small businesses saving an average $79 every year.
Queensland farmers pay some of the lowest average power prices in the National Electricity Market, with regulated regional power prices dropping in the past three years and set to drop again from 1 July 2021.