17 June, 2021
QFF welcomes electricity rebate ahead of transition to new farming tariff
The Queensland Farmers’ Federation (QFF) has welcomed an electricity rebate announced by the state government to assist farmers transitioning to new retail tariffs but noted the funding would do little to address existing energy affordability issues.
The announcement follows the release of the Queensland Competition Authority’s (QCA) final determination on 2021-22 regulated retail electricity prices for the Ergon network area last week, and when implemented from July 1, will see tariffs specifically designed to meet the needs of irrigation and other farming activities phased out.
QFF CEO Dr Georgina Davis said there were still over 20,000 electricity users in regional Queensland on obsolete and transitional tariffs, of which, more than half were for farming and irrigation purposes.
“QFF has worked with the Queensland Government and Ergon Energy Retail
to successfully develop a range of tariffs suitable for most small
energy users. However, prior to this announcement, many ‘large users’
(classed at only 100MWh in Queensland) were facing significant
electricity price increases,” Dr Davis said.
“The electricity rebate is a positive step forward to providing some relief to these farmers but locks them into minimum 5 per cent annual bill increases for the next nine years.”
“While the rebate does little to address ongoing, long-term
affordability issues, risking the ability of many irrigated and
intensified farm businesses to compete globally, potential job losses
and lower levels of production.”
Dr Davis said Queensland farming businesses on transitional and obsolete tariffs now had less than three weeks to assess new retail tariffs and
implement any required infrastructure before 1 July.
“Concerningly, farmers who do not transition to the new retail tariffs
before the deadline will have the decision made for them based on their
previous 12 months of energy usage. So, we encourage farmers to speak to their energy retailer as soon as possible, particularly if you expect
your energy usage to change.”
“The Queensland Government must set out a clear path for affordable energy by efficiently pricing electricity and increasing investment to help farmers improve their energy productivity and remain viable into the future.”