Irrigators say in seven years, the cost of power to run their farm has jumped by 97%.
Irrigators say in seven years, the cost of power to run their farm has jumped by 97%. Mike Knott

Farmers call for more action on electricity price

AN AVERAGE Queenslander might see a $7 or 0.5% reduction in their electricity bill from next financial year, but the state's farmers say the decrease is not enough.

The Queensland Competition Authority announced electricity prices for business would drop around $73, or 3.5%, next financial year.

Queensland Farmers' Federation chief executive Clare Murray said a stop to excessive price hikes was welcomed but that irrigators still faced "significant difficulties" to adjusting to price increases from the past five years.

She said some farmers could benefit from moving to new time-of-use electricity tariffs, but only if they made significant investments to adjust to off-peak energy use.

"Farms that must pump from variable river flows or have fixed production cycles such as milking times on dairy farms will unfortunately find it difficult to change their energy use behaviour," she said.

Canegrowers said the QCA's announcement should not cloak the underlying challenges in the state's electricity pricing.

Canegrowers chief executive Dan Galligan said Queenslanders paid more per connection for electricity while providers were amongst the most profitable.

"Our irrigators are telling us that in just seven years, the cost of power to run their farm has jumped by a whopping 97% and the data confirms this," Mr Galligan said.

He said power was a large cost to people running an irrigated farm and if this was not addressed it would drive farmers to alternative production systems or to stop farming altogether.

"The State Government can do more to help consumers by stripping cost burdens from network operators, as has occurred in other states," he said.



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