The Queensland Council of Social Service today warned Queensland electricity consumers on market contracts to check whether their supplier will set prices for tariff 11 higher than the government regulated price from July 1.
“This is particularly important for low-income consumers who can ill-afford the substantial increases to market contract prices announced by Origin Energy today,” says QCOSS CEO Mark Henley. It is not known if other retailers will follow Origin’s lead.
“The Queensland Government has frozen Tariff 11 for a year, but retailers do not have to offer this price to customers who have entered into a market contract,” says Mark.
“Tariff 11 has been set by the government at 23.071 c per kilowatt hour for consumption plus a service fee of 26.170c per day (ex GST). Anyone being charged more than this for Tariff 11 can request they go back to a government-regulated price or they can shop around for a better deal from other retailers. Because some contracts have exit fees and as the Tariff 11 freeze is only for a year this may not always be worthwhile, so customers should consider their own circumstances carefully”
He welcomed the fact Energy and Water Minister Mark McArdle is considering reforms to ban exit fees and says the complexity of prices, contracts and exit fees makes it very difficult for consumers to know what is best for them.
“While most people will probably wait for their next quarterly bill before deciding whether to take action, some low-income consumers can ill-afford to do this,” says Mark. “If they have any concerns or they’re being notified of substantial increases, we’d advise them to contact their energy supplier now rather than wait for what could be a greatly increased bill forcing them into financial difficulties.
Customers looking for a better deal can use the independent price comparator on the Queensland Competition Authority website http://www.qca.org.au/electricity-retail/comparator/.
Mark warns that the carbon price will add approximately 10 per cent to everyone’s bill (even those on government-regulated pricing) although the Federal Government is providing compensation for this.
“In addition everyone using off-peak tariffs (Tariffs 31 and 33, usually used for hot water or swimming pools) can expect this portion of their bill to go up as these tariffs have not been frozen by the government,” says Mark.
Mark Henley 0448 075 087, Karyn Walsh 0413 619 785
Mark Jeffery 0419 732 583, Ian Wynne 0414 643 122