Tracey Joynson

Calls for energy price cuts as big two report super profits

PROFITS from Queensland's big two power companies should be passed to our region's householders and businesses.

That's the call from industry lobby group the Alliance of Electricity Consumers after the state-owned Energex and Ergon at least tripled the dividends they pay the Queensland Government in just one year.

However, Energy Minister Mark Bailey says householders will see a small decrease in their power bills this financial year.

Ergon Energy's dividends shot up from $400 million in 2013-14 to $1.9 billion in the last financial year while Energex's dividends climbed from $406 million to $1.3 billion in the same period.

The Alliance of Electricity Consumers is mostly comprised of Queensland cotton irrigators.

Their spokesman Jonathan Pavetto said the companies were making "super profits" as consumers struggled.

"Energex and Ergon Energy's super profits have come at the expense of the excruciatingly high electricity bills for Queensland's families, small businesses, irrigators and industry," Mr Pavetto said.

Mr Bailey said power bills would drop.

"This financial year household bills will on average fall 0.5%," he said.

"This is locked in and will not change.

"The Australian Energy Regulator has made it very clear they are committed to much better future outcomes for electricity consumers than the 43% increase they saw over the last three years."

Energex chairwoman Kerryn Newton said consumers would benefit from cost cutting and other factors.

"While the past year has seen a period of continued change and challenges for Energex, it is pleasing to advise that the business has delivered strong outcomes for the community and our shareholders, the Queensland Government," Ms Newton said.

"These results have been achieved through our focus on prudency and efficiency within the business as a whole, as well as strengthened focus on engaging with the community."

Ergon said strong profits would benefit householders and businesses down the track.

"Factors contributing to the net profit included the strong performance of the retail business energy trading division (an $84 million win in market values compared with a $123 million loss the previous year)," a company spokesman said.

"It also reflects a focus on delivering organisational efficiency and effectiveness, improved demand management and scaling back investment and operations in line with changes in demand over recent years.

"These wins are allowing us to pass on savings to customer through revised revenue requirements for 2015 to 2020."

- APN NEWSDESK


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