POWER OUTAGE: Storms cut power to hundreds of residents this morning.
POWER OUTAGE: Storms cut power to hundreds of residents this morning. John Farmer

Shockwaves over 13% rise in electricity bills

SMALL businesses across the Rose City have been backed into a corner when it comes to electricity prices after the recent announcement by the Queensland Competition Authority.

On Friday the QCA said standard domestic tariff for electricity will rise by 13.6% as of this month which is a significant jump for many in the Warwick area.

Local business owners, big and small who have already made cut backs on their power use, will now be forced to absorb these increases.

"Our electricity bill is anywhere between $20,000-$22,000 a month," Carey Bros joint owner Paul Carey said.

His business which includes three butcher shops, a deli and an abattoir has already outsourced its power through a private company which keeps the price consistent while on contract.

"We won't see a rise until the end of the contract, but it will jump for us next year," Mr Carey said.

"There are certain things you can't change, especially when you have a traditional way of doing things.

"It's not like we can do up our cuts in the dark, I think that would be a bit of an OHS issue," he laughed.

It was the same story for owner of the Rosetown Cafe John Francis.

"We make sure every appliance is turned off at night and the sandwich maker is turned down when we aren't using it," he said.

While these changes are strict they haven't always been in place.

"We changed it to save on energy a while ago, what else can we do?" he said.

"It's now going to come out of the pockets of the small business man".

Even one of Warwick's most dynamic businesses Voyage Fitness has felt the pinch of its energy bills of $6000 a month.

"There isn't a lot you can cut back on, it's all mandatory stuff," manager Jaron Cumerford said.

"Short of putting a solar energy farm on the roof we have done everything to cut back, the cardio machines self-generate power of a night, we have energy lights and energy efficient TVs."

Electricity prices in south-east Queensland have increased by nearly 120% over the past eight years.

Due to the unknown dimension of the carbon tax the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland believes businesses will have a hard time budgeting for the next financial year.

In a press release Friday the CCIQ stated there was "considerable uncertainty relating to electricity prices for 2014-15".

Uncertainty also hangs over the new market monitored system, similar to that of other states which replaces the QCA price regulation next year.



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