Power for People

It’s pretty simple: private corporations shouldn’t be making a profit by selling us a basic necessity like electricity.

Energy for People — Not Profit

It’s pretty simple: private corporations shouldn’t be making a profit by selling us a basic necessity like electricity.

Ordinary people are being squeezed while big corporations make billions. The ideology of putting corporate profits and markets before people has failed to deliver affordable, reliable and clean energy.

Since Labor and the LNP began the era of privatisation, power prices have kept rising while company profits have soared. In the meantime, 21,000 Queensland households had their power cut off last year because they couldn’t pay their bills. That is the second-highest rate of disconnections in Australia.

The market has failed:
private retailers are making “excessive profits”

The idea of a “market” in electricity retail has failed. Since 2006-07, power bills have nearly doubled, rising by 87% in real terms. By contrast, in the twenty years before that, electricity prices actually fell.

Over the last four years, Origin and AGL have made $7.2 billion in profits from electricity retail, and their rich CEOs are taking home massive pay packets. We don't think this is fair.

Our Power for People plan:

Scrap privatisation of electricity retail

The first stage of the Power for People Plan to scrap the privatisation of electricity retail in South East Queensland, and ensure affordable, reliable electricity for all Queenslanders. We would move to a single, public retailer (also replacing Ergon), by expanding Energy Queensland to provide retail services to all Queenslanders.

The Greens' plan for Energy Queensland:
  • No profits – transition Energy Queensland away from a profit-making model towards an efficient public authority
  • Cheaper bills – make sure Energy Queensland offers lower prices than existing privately-owned retailers, such as AGL, Origin and EnergyAustralia because it would not operate at a profit, or spend money on wasteful advertising, billboards, or telemarketers - like private retailers do
  • Ban Huge CEO Salaries 
  • Affordable, reliable electricity – enshrine this mission into Energy Queensland’s charter and make the State Energy Minister responsible for retail electricity prices - no more “passing the buck” to regulators or private companies 

Households across Queensland could

save up to $370 a year on power bills

For South East Queensland:

Under our plan, most customers in the South East would quickly shift to the new public retailer, Energy Queensland, to take advantage of lower prices. Private retailers like Origin and AGL would then be phased out over two years. 

Our plan would not require government subsidies, since Energy Queensland would offer electricity at “cost-price” instead of making a profit. 

It will hit corporate profits, which is why the big energy retailers will hate it.

For Regional and Rural Queensland:

Thirty-four percent of Queensland customers are outside of the South East, where prices are set by the Queensland Competition Authority to automatically match prices in the South East - privatisation and deregulation in the South East is also hurting regional Queensland by pushing up prices.

Under the Greens’ plan, regional households currently with the publicly-owned Ergon Energy would save up to $370 per year as prices fall to match those in the South East.

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Energy for People — Not Profit

Dodgy manipulation cost us $1 billion:

The Fixed Charges Rip-off:

Our electricity generation sector is being privatised behind our backs and we’re being ripped off by Ergon and Energex

Labor and the LNP have overseen the privatisation of power generation in Queensland by allowing private companies to build and own power stations like coal, gas and all solar farms.

Unlike other states, Queensland’s power grid (often called the poles and wires) was never privatised. However, all State-owned grid companies are now forced to operate under a corporate, profit-making model with regulations designed to maximise profits. Energy Queensland (formerly Energex and Ergon) and Powerlink make billions of dollars a year by passing on unnecessary costs to Queenslanders.

Our Plan:

To Stop Privatisation and create 5,500 jobs a year

They have ignored the possibility of large-scale public ownership of clean energy. Power generation is an important basic necessity, and it should be in public and community hands. The Greens would:

  • Legislate a long-term objective to bring electricity generation under public and community ownership.
  • Invest $15 billion over the next 5 years to build publicly-owned clean energy and storage; creating 5,500 jobs every year.
  • Crack down on price-gouging by private and public coal and gas generators by changing the rules of the wholesale electricity market.
  • Shift publicly owned generation companies CS Energy and Stanwell away from their corporatised, profit-making model towards efficient public authorities.

To Stop the Rip Offs

Our plan would stop the rip-offs and force Energy Queensland to act in the public interest. The Greens would:

  • Stop Energy Queensland and Powerlink from paying massive dividends at the expense of low-income households.
  • Transition Energy Queensland and Powerlink away from a profit-making corporatised model, towards efficient public authorities which have affordable, reliable, clean energy enshrined in their objectives.

Regulation of network companies under the National Electricity Market (NEM) is broken. If reforms to the NEM to make electricity affordable and clean do not succeed, we will also take back control from the Australian Energy Regulator and the Australian Energy Market Commission. This would bring back regulation of energy networks to the State level in order to stop the rip-offs.

5,500 Jobs

Large sections of Queensland are currently facing a recession with high unemployment and low wages. Our proposal will create 5,500 full time jobs in design and construction every year for five years. This does not include operation and maintenance jobs, which would be additional.

Unlike private generation projects, these public generators would not be built to make a profit. This will drive down the cost of power even further.

Productive, Debt Funded Infrastructure

A clean energy future must also be a fairer future.

The Greens will build publicly-owned clean energy like wind and solar, and facilitate community-owned clean energy instead of letting the private market take control of our energy system. We will invest $15 billion over the next 5 years in productive, clean energy generation capacity, using debt-funded infrastructure investment and taking advantage of record low interest rates. These productive, publicly owned assets will be able to produce a modest return that will pay off the investment over time.

This plan is not designed to make a profit, meaning prices can be lower. This investment will be supported by the federal Renewable Energy Target, the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and direct investment from the Queensland government.

Make the Big End of Town Pay their Fair Share - Instead of unfairly taxing Queenslanders

The 2016-17 Queensland Budget Paper 2 predicts total dividends of $3.1 billion over four years from the electricity networks, and $954 million from electricity generators.

Right now this money is coming out of the pockets of the lowest-income Queensland households.

The two old parties rely on this model because property developers and billionaires can afford to pay their fair share, but the two old parties are too afraid to go after their major donors. Throughout the election, the Greens will be releasing a series of major revenue raising measures which target the billionaires and big corporations. They'll include abolishing subsidies for mining companies, and raising taxes on property developers and the big end of town.

Taking back control of our networks

Regulation of network companies under the National Electricity Market (NEM) is broken. If reforms to the NEM to make electricity affordable and clean do not succeed, we will take back control from the Australian Energy Regulator and the Australian Energy Market Commission. This would bring back regulation of energy networks to the State level in order to stop the rip-offs.

There is an urgent need for a public authority to plan investments and coordinate the grid. As well as phasing out and then banning “dividends”, we will take back control from the Australian Energy Regulator and the Australian Energy Market Commission, bringing back regulation of energy networks to the State level in order to stop the rip-offs in the future.


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