Queensland to review power pricing in wake of costs surge

QUEENSLAND will take a fresh look at electricity tariffs in a bid to improve their affordability in light of skyrocketing power prices.

A Tariff Reform Working Group established by Energy Minister Mark McArdle will examine all tariffs including the major domestic tariffs 11, 31 and 33.

Mr McArdle said another focus of the newly established group was to determine whether the electricity usage patterns of Queenslanders suited the current tariff structure.

Queenslanders are using electricity today in a way that was never envisaged when these network tariffs were first designed.

"Over the last thirty years, the peak demand period has increased by more than 200 per cent, and whereas people used to use a lot of electricity to heat their homes, they're now using more to run air conditioning," Mr McArdle said.

"We have also seen a 150 per cent increase in electrical appliance consumption.

"It makes sense now to take a fresh look at the way tariffs are structured so they better reflect consumers' needs."

Comprising expertise from Energex, Ergon, the Queensland Competition Authority, Queensland Treasury and the Department of Energy and Water Supply, the working group will provide strategic advice and direction on future electricity tariff structures as part of the Newman Government's commitment to electricity sector reforms.

The views of Queensland's electricity retailers will also be an important input into the process and the working group will welcome input from Ergon Energy which is currently talking to Queensland consumers about its tariff review.

The working group was established immediately after the announcement of the reforms and is expected to have its first formal meeting later this month.

Mr McArdle said he anticipated the implementation of these tariff reforms to commence 1 July 2015 depending upon the work involved in the process and any complications that may arise.

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