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Greens push to nationalise electricity retail and cap power prices in Queensland

The Greens will this week push the State Government to bring energy retail into public ownership and cut power bills for Queensland customers. 

Addressing Parliament on Wednesday evening, the Queensland Greens’ Energy Spokesperson Michael Berkman will call on the Government to remove private energy retailers’ licence to operate and transfer customers to a new democratic, public authority responsible for all energy retail, networks and generation in Queensland, which would be directed to provide electricity to customers at cost.

Michael Berkman:

“Since Labor privatised electricity retail in 2006, corporations like Origin and Energy Australia have made massive profits from struggling Queenslanders. 

“In the same year that around 26,600 households and small businesses had their electricity cut off because they couldn’t afford to pay their bills, Origin made $1.3 billion in profit from electricity retail. Queensland has the highest rate of disconnections in the country. 

“Homes and businesses need to keep the lights on more than corporate executives need a new advertising campaign or another Christmas bonus. 

“We need urgent action including a price cap to address the current energy crisis, and permanent changes to stop energy corporations from price gouging Queenslanders for essential services.

“Right now Queenslanders are getting ripped off by wartime profiteers. BP recorded $7 billion in profits in the last 3 months alone, Woodside’s profits increased five-fold, and over the last year Chevron made $9 billion in revenue while paying only $30 in income tax. Meanwhile, Queenslanders are expected to pay 56% more on their power bills over the next two years.

“Instead of taxing Queenslanders through their energy bills, we should tax greedy coal and gas corporations to fund a bill freeze, and create a publicly owned energy retailer to deliver at-cost energy for the public good.”

Background: Australian Greens electricity bill freeze proposal

Together with the Australian Greens’ proposal for the Federal Government to freeze electricity bills at pre-crisis levels for two years, a public energy retailer would help ensure Queenslanders have long term access to cheap, reliable energy.

The proposal announced by Australian Greens Leader Adam Bandt last Friday would freeze retail electricity bills at pre-crisis levels, taking the rates back to what they were prior to the invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. The Federal Government would cover the price difference with a windfall super-profits tax on coal, oil and gas corporations, which would not only cover the costs of freezing electricity bills, but generate an additional $25 billion. That additional revenue would be used to cover further costs should bills rise even higher than forecast, or provide grants for households and businesses to transition off gas.

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