The Queensland LNP has pledged to top up half a billion dollars in electricity subsidies for regional areas with another $150 million to have more than one retailer in the market.
Deputy LNP leader Tim Mander says subsidising the introduction of electricity retailers in regional areas is vital because the only player at the moment is Ergon Energy.
“The LNP policy is to invest another $150 million on top of the $500 million uniform tariff policy already,” Mr Mander told reporters in Rockhampton on Tuesday.
“We will bring competition to the electricity retail market and the regions, which will lead to at least a $300 saving per year for the average household.”
Regional electricity prices in Queensland are regulated by the Queensland Competition Authority, while the southeast corner is open to private sector competition.
The government subsidises regional electricity bills under a uniform tariff policy to ensure country users pay equivalent costs to the southeast Queensland customers.
The QCA says competition in regional areas is limited as other retailers cannot compete with Ergon Energy’s subsidised prices.
However, the Greens are calling for electricity providers to be back in public hands and it forms a key part of their campaign policy for the October state election.
They want Energy Queensland as a single, non-profit public authority in charge of all retail, generation and networks, including renewable energy.
Queensland Productivity Commission has previously examined the LNP’s proposed policy and claims it will have the opposite effect to pulling prices down, says a representative from Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk’s office.
They say it will add $400 to regional power bills or require subsidies that will increase taxes.
“It is hypocritical for the LNP Opposition to be talking about power prices at all after power prices went up 43 per cent on their watch,” the representative said.