The State Government has announced a new suite of measures as part of its Affordable Energy Plan, including removing a restriction on regional electricity customers going back to Ergon Energy.
The energy saving initiatives are being rolled out this week by the Queensland Government ahead of the State election and after last weeks’ ACCC Report which highlighted the Queensland Government’s huge network costs for its State-owned poles and wires and it named Queenslanders as the hardest hit by power price increases behind South Australians.
The fresh initiatives announced today complete the $300 million package announced by the Premier on Sunday.
The Government now says it is ‘investing’ $40 million to remove barriers to regional Queenslanders switching retailers and to improve access to solar panels and household storage batteries.
Energy Minister Mark Bailey says removing the policy will give regional customers more choice and control over their energy bills which is good news for electricity bill savings in regional areas.
“It will also free up customers to return to Ergon Retail to take up the $75 Easy Pay Reward.”
Initiatives under the Affordable Energy Plan:
- Rebates of up to $300 to purchase an energy efficient fridge, washing machines or air conditioner. This provides bill savings of up to $50 a year for an energy efficient washing machine or fridge or $135 a year for an air conditioner. Up to 100,000 Queensland households are expected to take up the offer.
- An Asset Ownership Dividend of $50 a year for every household bill over the next two years, starting from January 2018 and evident on bills from the second quarter of 2018.
- Annual discounts for regional Ergon customers of $75 for households and $120 for small businesses that take up Ergon’s direct debit payment options. 200,000 regional households are expected to initially take up this offer.
- Another 4000 regional households can save up to $200 through the expansion of the Energy Savvy program.
- Support for primary producers by delivering an additional 200 energy audits to agricultural customers through an expanded Energy Savers Plus program in partnership with the Queensland Farmers’ Federation, as well as providing a 50% co-contribution (up to $20,000) to implement audit recommendations.
- Support for Queensland jobs and industry by providing energy audits for large customers including manufacturers, with a 50% co-contribution to implement recommendations (up to $250,000 per customer). This is expected to deliver savings of 10% to 40% for large industrial customers.
- Remove Ergon Energy’s non-reversion policy to give regional customers more choice and control over their energy bills.
- No-interest loans to help those Queenslanders who don’t have access to the upfront capital required to invest in solar and battery technologies to help reduce their bills and be part of a clean energy future. Queenslanders will be able to apply from March 2018, with savings of up to $700 per year expected for those who take up solar.
- Take action to remove barriers preventing solar on rental properties. Under this trial for 1000 households, a tenant could save up to 10 per cent off their annual bill, or up to $150, with landlords expected to receive a rebate of up to $520 per year.