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Economy faces huge challenges, says Ai Group chief

BusinessEconomy faces huge challenges, says Ai Group chief

Economy faces huge challenges, says Ai Group chief

Queensland electricity bills could surge 30 to 50 per cent and dozens of small energy retailers could go under within months unless the state government intervenes in the market, an analyst says.

Household bills in the southeast will leap by at least 10.7 per cent to $1620 in 2022/23, while business bills will surge 19.8 per cent to $3446.

Regional Queensland home power bills will jump 9.2 per cent to $1290, and business bills 10.2 per cent to a minimum of $2334.

Federal and state regulators determined the rises, with wholesale electricity prices quadrupling to $171 per megawatt hour in the year to March.

Surging coal and gas prices have lifted Queensland wholesale prices to $283 MWh – the highest level on record – this month.

Base futures prices – which retailers agree with generators in annual contracts – hit $148 MWh in the March quarter, the second highest level on record.

Professor Bruce Mountain, a Victoria University energy market expert, says if current conditions persist regulators could lift Queensland power bills another 30-50 per cent before the end 2022/23.

“They should be expecting 30 to 50 per cent increases,” he told AAP on Wednesday.

“Those customers paying default rate can expect for now to have increases in line with a default rate, but I would not be surprised if there’s pressure on the regulators to reset the price cap within a period of shorter than a year, which is when they said they’re next going to do it.”

AAP

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