Almost two million Queensland households can expect $50 credit to be added to their power bills over the coming months, as part of the state government’s Affordable Energy Plan.
The rebate will start to appear on electricity bills issued from April 30, with Energy Minister Anthony Lynham saying the dividend is a cornerstone of the government’s plan, made possible because of Queensland’s public ownership of its power assets.
The $50 credit will be applied automatically by all electricity retailers across Queensland. A further divided is also planned for 2019.
“I strongly encourage Queenslanders to check their next power bill for the line item showing the $50 credit,” Dr Lynham said.
“We understand the cost of living pressures faced by all Queenslanders, especially our most vulnerable who will benefit the most.
“The government can take this action because Queenslanders own our electricity business, not private companies the LNP would have sold them to.”
Queensland Council of Social Service CEO, Mark Henley, said any bill relief was vital to low-income households.
“Electricity is one of the most significant household expenses people have. Low-income households are really impacted by the cost of electricity because there is little or no disposable income to absorb the huge cost,” Mr Henley said.
“It is great that this dividend is automatic for every account holder. It is really important that people who do receive power bills from their landlord or body corporate and those who pay though a card- operated meter contact their retailer to make sure they receive the dividend.”
The $50 asset ownership dividend is said to be a key element of the state government’s Affordable Energy Plan, which also includes a two-year cap on electricity price rises to average inflation, rebates of up to $300 for new energy efficient air conditioners, washing machines and fridges, as well as rewards of up to $75 for households and $120 for small businesses in regional Queensland who take up Ergon Energy’s monthly billing options.
The $50 payment dividend will go to home owners, tenants, customers who receive a power bill from their landlord or body corporate, and customers in communities with card-operated meters. Eligible Queensland pensioners and seniors also receive a $340 annual electricity rebate.
Dr Lynham added that the government’s plan would continue to place downward pressure on power bills, saying: “The Palaszczuk government is well on its way to delivering on its commitment of a two-year cap on electricity price rises to average inflation.”
Keep an eye out for your $50 annual rebate on your next power bill. That’s your dividend as an owner of Qld’s electricity businesses – the ones the LNP would have sold. @ErgonEnergy @QCOSS_ pic.twitter.com/iiYa7GGXTW
— Dr Anthony Lynham (@DrAnthonyLynham) April 29, 2018
Queensland power competition heats up
The electricity market in south east Queensland has undergone significant change in recent years, since the removal of price regulations in 2015. The decision quickly brought an influx of new energy retailers into the Brisbane area, with larger conditional discounts now available to help households cut their overall power costs. However, not all customers are yet benefiting from the increased competition, with the latest figures from the energy regulator showing that one in four households in south east Queensland remains on a standard electricity contract.
A household is likely to be on a standard contract if it has never switched retailers, or negotiated a new deal with their existing one in recent years. Standard contracts will almost always work our more expensive than market contracts, which can include large conditional discounts or other incentives. Canstar Blue’s electricity database shows that the difference between the cheapest and most expensive electricity plans in south east Queensland is more than $1,000 a year, based on a typical family of four.
New energy retailers to enter the Queensland market since deregulation include Alinta Energy, Red Energy, Powershop and Amaysim.