QCOSS welcomes the QCA’s draft determination that results in a 2.3 per cent bill reduction for a typical household electricity bills. However, we note with concern that the decrease will be significantly less for typical customers on a combination of tariff 11, and controlled load tariff 31 or 33. These are the off peak tariffs which many people use for hot water or pool pumps and which traditionally have helped to control costs and keep bills down.
Our submission focuses on issues of most concern to vulnerable customers and in particular we are keen to ensure that regional prices are set in a fair and transparent manner. This must be in keeping with the Uniform Tariff Policy which is the Queensland Government policy that electricity prices are set so that households in regional Queensland pay no more than households in Southeast Queensland. QCOSS has raised concerns about the QCA’s pricing approach and how the uniform tariff policy is applied.
QCOSS also remain concerned about the annual indexation of retail costs to the consumer pricing index (CPI) as well as some new concerns about the charges for the new digital meters. Additionally, we note that retail competition has been identified as a consideration in the setting of notified prices. QCOSS does not agree that competition is an important consideration when setting regulated electricity prices in regional Queensland. This pricing approach is not an effective way to promote retail competition in regional Queensland.