January 31, 2019
Household power bills could drop by about 10 per cent next year if proposals by Energy Queensland are accepted by the Australian Energy Regulator, according to the State Government.
Energy Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said on Tuesday the savings would come from proposed reductions in distribution network charges.
“This comes on top of the existing savings flowing from the State Government’s Affordable Energy Plan,” Dr Lynham said.
“They include a $50 rebate later this year, and a two-year price cap on power prices.
“Electricity prices in Queensland are now, on average, the cheapest of all mainland States in Australia.”
Energy Queensland’s network investment plans for 2020-2025 are being submitted to the independent Australian Energy Regulator (AER) this week.
In its submission, Energy Queensland says it will reduce overheads by 10 per cent over the next five years through a combination of measures including the merger of Ergon and Energex, and “digital transformation” with new technology.
This digital transformation will be underpinned by a $403 million investment in information and communication technology.
New smart power electronic devices and energy storage technologies, such as home battery systems, are aps0 being investigated as cost-effective alternatives to traditional network augmentation such ase substation upgrades.
Improved systems will also support the increasing penetration of solar power connected to the network.
The State Government said the measures were expected to keep Ergon and Energex’s combined capital expenditure down to $5.23 billion, with about one-third being used to replace network equipment such as power poles and overhead distribution lines
The AER will consult on Energy Queensland’s proposals and issue draft Distribution Determinations for Ergon and Energex by September 2019.
If the AER requires further changes, Ergon and Energex will then submit revised proposals by December, with final Distribution Determinations due from the AER by April 2020.
“If the Australian Energy Regulator accepts these proposals, this means further savings for Queensland families,” Dr Lynham said.