Low energy users in Queensland hit with tariffs of 72c/kWh

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Low energy users in Queensland hit with huge tariffs, while energy guzzlers are being rewarded with tariffs less than 1/2 the price.

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One Step Off The Grid

The mainstream media, the Murdoch press in particular, rails against the supposed impact of renewable energy and carbon pricing schemes on electricity prices, yet remains curiously silent on the massive impact of network charges on low volume electricity users.

Last month RenewEconomy brought attention to the huge rise in fixed charges in Queensland. Despite the gushing press release announcing reduced bills picked up uncritically by the local media, the real horror was the impact on low energy users, single person households, pensioners and solar and energy efficient households in particular.

We thought at the time that the impact translated into an effective rate of more than 40c/kWh for those low energy users. We were wrong. It’s much much worse than that.

While scrolling through the latest report from the Queensland Competition Authority to respond to the latest bit of trolling from fossil fuel apologists, I came across these graphs below.

qld tariffs

In the first, it shows how the lowest energy users have been hit by big rises in their bills, mostly from the huge increased in fixed tariffs. A household using just 1MWh of electricity from the grid, faces an annual bill of $712. That is the equivalent of 71.2c/kWh. Their bill has risen at least 16 per cent.

Energy hogs, on the other hand, have been delivered significant cuts. A household guzzling 10MWh a year, presumably with air con and pool pumps, are paying an effective rate of just 29c/kWh.

Of course, it goes against everything that the state government, which owns the networks, has been proposing for the last 10 years on energy efficiency, and the encouragement of solar PV, and more recently their rhetoric around battery storage.

Indeed, this next graph shows the figures in a different way. The bill increases for low energy users (look to the left) have risen by up to 35 per cent in some cases, for those using little or no electricity (holiday homes?) during the year.

This data also shows that more than half a million homes – using 3MWh or less of electricity in a year – have been hit by rising bills in 2015/16, courtesy of higher fixed charges, despite the rhetoric from the government.
qld tariffs graphics


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  1. john 4 years ago

    The figures show how to get a result for the average consumer.
    At 5000 KwH a year a gain below to the 3000 a small gain and upwards a bigger gain.
    The idea of using a daily charge is to kill solar energy production nothing else.
    The aspect it hurts poor people is just collateral damage.
    The whole idea is to make utilising PV a not very attractive idea.
    I am afraid we live in the age of stupid where what you are being told is not exactly fair and reasonable or for that matter truthful.

  2. MaxG 4 years ago

    Welcome to the stupid country! There was a reason dinosaurs died out. 🙂

  3. trackdaze 4 years ago

    The same thing has occurred with local councils and water and sewerage. You can use next to nothing and its still going to cost 1000pa!

    • BarleySinger 4 years ago

      we live way too far away from everything to use much “infrastrucure” (just our phone wire, and the electrical connection). We wont be paying AGL in another 12 months from now….and if they raise our bill for lowering our usage will will cut them off.

  4. suthnsun 4 years ago

    Regardless of the punitive regime, please throw off the gas completely, continue energy efficiencies and install PV aiming for maximum fossil fuel displacement. Once the ff lobby has been dismantled a fairer system may arise. AGW is the pre-eminent concern and it’s up to the citizens to do the heavy, moral and intelligent thing. ( and never vote for libs again!) There, that’s my daily exhortation out of the way, I should go for a walk.

  5. Catprog 4 years ago

    3 x 300 watt solar panel $897
    12v AGM 260Ah $459.00
    SMA Sunny Island 3324 $3,319.00

    $4,675 total.

    • Catprog 4 years ago

      Or a Sinergex PureSine II 1500 12v $999.00

      2,355 total.

  6. BarleySinger 4 years ago

    This lot want to create an “infrastructure surcharge…without calling it that. They are afraid of “grid defections” and their actions from this fear (pushing up prices) are *ensuring* that grid defections will occur – en mass.

    It already costs LESS to live off of the grid than on it. If you have a house (mortgage) than you CAN get solar for it (for free if you are willing to let a company KEEP all teh excess power you make, from their panels).

    I live in SA. Our bills are high. Right now, the cost of a big honking 10kw PV system (with 10kw of battery – hybrid on the grid) is about $24,500. It could run OFF the grid just by turning off the main switch.

    If a person in SA uses enough power for THAT big system to a good investment (*with the low & crappy amount we get paid for OUR energy) then their energy bills would be about $6000 a year. So that sort of system will “pay itself off” in roughly 3 years and 8 months (5 years if you need a loan). That gives a household of that sort 20 years of NOT paying for anything but battery replacement (which is about $120,000 MINUS battery costs) in savings. So about $100,000 that you can put into your super, instead of paying it to AGL.

  7. Jacob 4 years ago

    Is not the cost of running diesel generators $0.50/kWh.

    So people that use less electricity could burn diesel and go off-grid.

    • Chris Fraser 4 years ago

      It does start to look that way for off-gridders with limited PV or limited battery capacity. Perhaps a fully certified form of biodiesel would help with the environmental conscience.

      • Jacob 4 years ago

        Euro 5 diesel engines fitted with a DPF should be fairly clean.

        If I see the exhaust pipe of a DPF fitted car, it is as clean as a whistle.

  8. Hugh M 4 years ago

    On the optimist side: This is a great scheme for pushing all low power users off the grid (onto PV or gas – both lower emissions intensity than black coal). Alternatively, to provide incentive for electric vehicles to increase their demand (towards 3000KWh)

    Also, those with higher than 3000KWh, who now have a discount, can get a greater discount also by PV or storage or efficiency.

    Either way, seems a scheme to reduce overall demand rather than increase it due to high priced power, low priced future-tech.

  9. Chris Fraser 4 years ago

    It makes you wonder if discrimination of low volume consumers was intended by design. It appears that once you decide to go ‘efficient’, you absolutely have to go all the way off to avoid the terrible gauntlet of high charges for low users. Giles is right it it the diametric opposite of what we’ve been told for ten years.

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