Southern Downs MP Lawrence Springborg
Southern Downs MP Lawrence Springborg Brenda Strong

Outcry at power bills sparks MP’s attention

SOUTHERN Downs MP Lawrence Springborg has weighed into the debate on the power price surge, as Ergon Energy looks into investigating bills on a case-by-case basis.

The possible investigation comes as residents continue to feel the electric shock from their last bills, with some as high as $2500.

While Mr Springborg wouldn't speculate about the specifics of the increase in power bills, he said he found the excessive bills to be peculiar.

"I'm sufficiently concerned about this that I've asked Ergon to investigate cases individually," he said.

"It seems to be peculiar and I've asked them to have a look at it."

Earlier this week Ergon stated the electricity charges are set by the Queensland Competitive Authority, with individual bills varying depending on energy consumption in each quarter.

Mr Springborg acknowledged there were some challenges with the national energy regulator and the state's competition authority around setting network charges.

"Network charges are things that are regulated and we're working on that," he said.

"It's something whilst we do have some challenges with the energy regulator and competition authority, we're trying to disentangle them so we can address issues around network charges.

"The fact is the raw price of power is going to go up far less this year than other years following the abolition of the carbon tax."

Mr Springborg said network charges didn't offer an explanation for the high power bills.

"We're going to try and work out what is going on," he said.

"I am hopeful this is just a peculiar and isolated issue that we can solve."

A number of residents told the Daily News during a meeting in Leslie Park on Wednesday they felt Ergon hadn't been very helpful.

Warwick resident Stanley Darling said he had been placed on a payment plan for his $734 bill.

"You ring them up and they tell you straight out you need to go on a payment plan," he said.

The story was same for most of the residents, including those who already pay their bills in instalments.

Donna Page said she believed the lack of competition meant there was nobody to argue that Ergon are charging too much.

"Bugger the credit card we're all in debt to Ergon," she said.

Ergon Energy said while it can't speculate on individual customer energy consumption, there are generally significant variations in bills between quarters.

"Our retail team is very keen to assist the customers who met in the park yesterday (Wednesday)," a spokesperson said.

"We are also keen for customers to contact us individually so we can look at their particular circumstances."

Keep up-to-date with the latest on the power bill debate with the Daily News and join the conversation on our Facebook page.



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