Watchdog warns Aurizon it's charging too much

A COMPETITION watchdog has told Aurizon its estimates for charges to its Central Queensland Coal Network customers are $1 billion too much.

A Queensland Competition Authority draft decision, released on Tuesday, stated the maximum allowable revenue (MAR) Aurizon should be able to recover from its customers between the 2013-14 to 2016-17 financial years was $3.88 billion.

Aurizon had submitted totals of $4.86 billion and $4.75 billion to the QCA last year.

QCA chairman Malcolm Roberts said the authority's decision may change, following stakeholder submissions, before the final decision in May next year.

"The QCA is releasing the draft decision at this time to allow all parties to rigorously test the QCA's analysis and, where relevant, to provide additional information on contested points. Submissions on the draft decision are invited, with a closing date of December 12, 2014," he said.

"The QCA considers that the MAR proposed by Aurizon Network is too high.

"On the evidence before us, our draft decision is that a MAR of $3.88 billion would be more appropriate.

Mr Roberts said $3.88 billion was 14% higher, in real terms, than the approved MAR in their 2010 access undertaking.

Aurizon believed the decision could send a "negative signal" to Central Queensland Coal Network investors and impact the maintenance activities required to provide "a safe, reliable and high-capacity network for customers".

"Aurizon Network is disappointed by the draft revenue decision, which is below the $4.86 billion submitted in April, 2013, and the $4.75 billion submitted as part of our revised financial model in December, 2013," an Aurizon statement said.


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