Higher Power Prices, But Boosted Solar Feed-In Tariff For Regional QLD

Regional Queensland electricity prices

The Queensland Competition Authority delivered bad news for the state’s regional residents and small businesses yesterday in the form of a significant jump in electricity costs. But there is some good news for solar power system owners.

The QCA is charged with the task of setting regulated retail electricity prices in regional Queensland, and its final determination for 2022-23 has been published.

First, The Bad News On Regional QLD Electricity Prices

Let’s just rip this band-aid off. From July 1:

  • 9.2 per cent increase in the annual bill for a typical customer on the main residential tariff (tariff 11)
  • Controlled load tariff 31: typical customer annual bill increase of 20.5%
  • Controlled load tariff 33: typical customer annual bill increase of  21.6%
  • 10.2 per cent increase for the typical customer on the main small business tariff (tariff 20)

Tariffs 31 and 33 will still be significantly cheaper than tariff 11, but the gap is closing.

The reasons for the increases according to QCA Chair Professor Flavio Menezes:

“Energy costs are projected to increase due to factors that include significant episodes of high demand, reduced generation availability from coal-fired and gas-powered power plants and higher coal and gas prices, which have been impacted by the war in Ukraine and sanctions against Russia.”

These are pretty much the same reasons given when SE QLD, SA and NSW received their news last week, and Victoria a few days prior. But elsewhere the QCA also notes:

“A slowdown of renewable generation coming online.”

There has been increasing speculation that Queensland’s emissions target, which is heavily dependent on new renewables that will also push down wholesale electricity prices, may not be achieved. But Energy Minister Mick de Brenni still seems pretty confident it will.

You can read the QCA’s full final determination for regulated electricity prices for regional Queensland 2022–23 here.

Short Term Power Price Pain Relief

There will be some electricity bill assistance for regional (and all) Queenslanders – a $175 Cost of Living Rebate. You won’t need to jump through any hoops to get it as electricity retailers will automatically apply the rebate.

That’s good for the first bill – but what of those to follow?

The Good News On Solar Feed-In Tariffs

The increases alone provide plenty of motivation for households and businesses to install solar panels, but there’s an added sweetener on its way that will also make existing regional Queensland solar power system owners pretty happy.

When wholesale electricity prices experience sustained upward pressure, it should follow on that feed-in tariffs – the payment made for surplus solar electricity exported to the grid1 – also increase. And that is happening here.

Currently the regional QLD feed-in tariff rate is set at 6.583 c/kWh. From July 1, that will jump 41% to 9.3 c/kWh.

The two announcements are likely to have solar installers seeing an uptick in enquiries as both make solar power an even better investment than what it currently is. But before racing out and whacking down a wad of cash on a system, check out SolarQuotes founder Finn Peacock’s 101 guide to installing solar in regional Queensland.

Footnotes

  1. A Queensland Government press release called the feed-in tariff a “solar rebate”, which is incorrect.
About Michael Bloch

Michael caught the solar power bug after purchasing components to cobble together a small off-grid PV system in 2008. He's been reporting on Australian and international solar energy news ever since.

Comments

  1. I am a regional qld power user. My retailer has just increased my tariff11 (I only have one tariff as I have solar) by 55% plus reduced my feed in tariff by 30% to 7% from 1/7/22, so I will be treating this article with a level of disbelief. (A bit of mockery of the 41% lift in solar input from 1/7/22)

    I have been trying to find a competitor for my current supplier using the ‘Energy made easy’ gov website but none of the contenders have published prices starting from 1/7/22….. pity they don’t compel the retailers to supply updated information to the comparison site when they notify their customers.

    My current supplier nearly sounded proud to notify me the pricing was 6% above the reference price for 1/7/22 Sad.

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