The Queensland Government has commenced significant reforms to address rising electricity prices, make it a fairer system and prepare for the future.
The reforms will encourage a competitive and diverse retail electricity market, giving Queenslanders greater choice in the way they use and pay for electricity.
Through these reforms, the government aims to immediately address electricity prices and deliver a more resilient, competitive, cost-effective and responsive industry over the long term.
PowerQ–Queensland’s first 30-year electricity strategy–sets a strong vision and direction to achieve a brighter energy future for all Queenslanders. PowerQ commits the government to delivering a resilient, cost-effective and consumer-focused industry through 8 strategies and more than 40 actions over the life of the strategy.
In May 2014, the Queensland Government introduced proposed legislation (electricity competition and protection legislation) to remove barriers to competition in South East Queensland (SEQ), opening up the retail market to greater competition and innovation.
The proposed legislation is a key component of the electricity reforms to stabilise prices and provide consumers with more choice and enhanced protections.
Subject to certain pre-conditions being met and the legislation passing in Parliament in late 2014, market monitoring will be introduced on 1 July 2015 to replace retail price regulation for residential and small business consumers in SEQ, provided government is satisfied customers will be able to benefit and there is adequate protection for vulnerable consumers.
The potential switch to market monitoring will place extra pressure on retailers to offer better prices and allow consumers the opportunity to choose electricity options that most suit their individual needs.
Under market monitoring, the Queensland Competition Authority (QCA) will continue to regulate electricity prices in regional areas while the government investigates options to expand competition outside SEQ.
After the commencement of market monitoring in SEQ, the QCA will continue to monitor the market, help consumers to better understand and take advantage of the choices on offer, and inform the government on how the market is developing.
The proposed electricity competition and protection legislation supports our commitment to implementing a national framework to ensure strong customer protections are in place when market monitoring commences in SEQ in 2015.
The National Energy Customer Framework (NECF) will benefit all Queenslanders by giving them better tools to engage confidently in the retail market, and better support if they are in financial hardship.
It will also reduce the regulatory burden for the electricity industry, drive greater efficiencies and foster increased competition in the retail market.
PowerQ: a 30-year strategy for Queensland’s electricity sector has been developed in consultation with Queenslanders and other industry experts. This long-term plan proposes a high-level, long-term framework that defines the role of consumers, market and government, and is responsive to the changes that lie ahead.
Recognising Queensland’s unique situation, we talked to consumers, community members and a wide range of industry stakeholders about the challenges faced and the changes they’d like to see happen. Through extensive community consultation around a directions and discussion papers, the goals and actions in this strategy became clear.
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On 16 June 2013, the government released its response to the Interdepartmental Committee on Electricity Sector Reform (IDC) report. The government response forms the first key step in reforming Queensland’s electricity sector.
The IDC was formed in mid-2012 to scrutinise cost pressures on electricity prices, network costs, electricity supply and retail competition. The IDC was chaired by the Director-General of the Department of Energy and Water Supply. It also included the Director-General of the Department of the Premier and Cabinet and the Under Treasurer, Queensland Treasury and Trade.
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An independent review panel was engaged by the IDC to investigate the impact of Queensland's electricity network on prices and provide solutions for a secure and cost-effective network. Mr Tony Bellas chaired the three-member panel which also included Mr Matt Rennie and Mr Alec Faulkner.
For more information read the panel's interim findings (PDF, 840.1KB) and final report (PDF, 2.2MB). The recommendations contained in the reports reflect the independent analysis undertaken by the panel. The government’s response to the panel recommendations are set out in the government response to the IDC report.
Find out about some of the key reforms and highlights.