Electricity prices in regional Queensland would fall by up to 4.3 per cent under pricing recommendations from the Queensland Competition Authority (QCA).
Residential power bills would fall by 2.3 per cent under the suggested pricing. A typical home would save about $35 a year, with bills falling from $1542 to $1507.
Businesses would save 4.3 per cent, with an average small business customer saving about $110. Annual charges would fall from about $2568 to $2458.
The QCA has the power to set notified prices in regional areas where Ergon Energy is the only electricity provider.
Mount Isa cafe owner Katrina Gall said while any relief on her power bill is helpful, $110 was not a ground-breaking figure.
“My business, it relies all on electricity. I run refrigeration, I run two coffee machines,” Ms Gall said.
“If my electricity goes out, I close the shop.”
Ms Gall said the rising costs forced her to re-work her budget, just to ensure her doors can stay open.
Energy Minister Anthony Lynham said the draft determination showed the Palaszczuk government’s interventions to put downward pressure on prices were working.
“We made a pledge to Queenslanders that we would keep power bills below inflation over the next two years, and this latest determination confirms that we are ahead of the game,” Dr Lynham said on Wednesday.
“Now this is a draft determination, but it’s indicative that we’re doing better than not rising above inflation — we’re actually dropping prices in regional Queensland.”
But Traeger MP Rob Katter said a $35 average reduction for homes was “nowhere near enough”.
Mr Katter said there was a lack of transparency when it came to power prices, claiming customers were being “indirectly taxed” by the government.
“Our analysis would say a minimum of $400 is [included in power bills] that doesn’t need to be there, and probably quite upward of that,” he said.
QCA chairman Roy Green said the determination was based on a combination of network charges and the latest information from competitive wholesale and retail electricity markets.
“This year’s draft determination forecasts decreases across all tariffs, including the main residential and small business tariffs,” he said.
“The primary contributor to the tariff decreases for 2018–19 is a decline in network costs.
“Wholesale energy costs have also decreased by smaller amounts, but these reductions have been largely offset by higher Renewable Energy Target (RET).”
The QCA will hold a series of community workshops across Brisbane and regional Queensland before a final determination will be published at the end of May.