Opinion

Who's to blame for rising energy costs in Toowoomba?

MARK COPLAND: Strap yourselves in: this one is all about energy with some reference to my gas bills.

When I first moved to Toowoomba I was keen to get the gas connected. I had heard it was cheap, reliable, natural and great to cook on. And so it was for quite some time.

Now, I'm not a big picture person when it comes to our national energy market, but I spotted some changes on the horizon and a few years back decided to drastically reduce my family's domestic gas use.

So our household has gone from using an average of 1331.5 megajoules per quarter in 2012/ 2013 to an average of 236.25 megajoules per quarter in 2016/2017. In other words, we have reduced our usage of gas by 82 per cent per quarter.

GOING UP: Graphs based on my recent bills showing lower gas usage and increasing prices.
GOING UP: Graphs based on my recent bills showing lower gas usage and increasing prices.

However, during the same period our bills have remained pretty much the same. So we are using one fifth as much gas but paying the same price for it.

In our most recent bill we used $11.07 worth of gas for the quarter and paid $111.37 as part of a supply charge.

When I asked the polite lady at the gas company's call centre what the supply charge was for, she told me that's what it costs to maintain the infrastructure to get those $11 worth of megajoules to my home.

Now, something's happening here. We can't blame the carbon tax any more and incidentally the $3.84 returned to me in the December 2014 bill hasn't stopped the price hike.

And it's not just my household hurting. Electricity generators and manufacturers are being charged close to three times the price they once were.

My understanding is that this massive increase is due to our domestic market being linked to the international market.

With the massive increase in the export of unconventional gas, the domestic price has almost tripled at the same time.

This will hurt your electricity bill as much as your gas bill.

So the companies get two bites of the cherry. They make money exporting for a high price and then can charge the domestic customer much more than they ever did.

Historically, as a nation, we have never pulled more gas out of the ground, yet we have a gas crisis.

Quoting Samuel Coleridge, "Water water everywhere, but not a drop to drink".

Then who is to blame?

We could blame the governments, both state and federal, who allowed this to happen.

Why was no thought ever given to a reserve amount of gas to be kept for domestic consumption?

We could blame the free market for failing to put Australian industry and households first.

We could blame the global gas companies for being greedy.

Or we could blame the recalcitrant state governments who have put a moratorium on unconventional gas exploration and production and those pesky farmers and greenies who want to lock the gate.

Former Member for Groom, the longest serving Industry and Resource Minister, and now Chief Executive of the Queensland Resources Council, Ian Macfarlane, has no doubt who is to blame.

He even argued that these state government, greenie-backed, misguided farmers had fallen victim to "fake news" in an interview on ABC radio last week.

Building on that logic, one presumes that Canada, Germany, Wales, Scotland, France and a number of US states have also fallen prey to "fake news".

One of these groups obviously listening to this so called "fake news" is the Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF).

Speaking in favour of a state based moratorium, VFF president David Jochinke stated, "Victoria has precious groundwater reserves and because the true environmental impact of onshore gas mining is still unknown, it would be reckless to put those reserves at risk without hard scientific evidence that shows the risks of onshore gas development can be properly managed."

Even if Prime Minister Turnbull can force the gas companies to ensure supply to keep the lights on, it will do nothing to the cost of power or gas for the householder.

It is not unreasonable for organisations such as the Victorian Farmers Federation to uphold the precautionary principle.

If we get this wrong the long-term cost will be much higher than my little gas bill.

Topics:  toowoomba


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Man in custody over alleged attack on partner

police generic Handcuffs arrest. 07 October 2016

Girl, 16, left with serious injuries

Why Pauline Hanson's One Nation is not going away

Pauline Hanson.

Think One Nation is a temporary phenomenon, think again

Man's dying wish after shock cancer diagnosis

ONE LAST WISH: John and Shelly Morgan have been together for more than 30 years.

JOHN Morgan went to the doctor with what he thought was a cold

Local Partners

Canossa now offers bulk-billed allergy tests

Waiting to see a specialist to determine if you have allergies is set to be quicker at Canossa Private Hospital's new allergy clinic.

REVEALED: When TK Maxx will open in Toowoomba

European chain department store TK Maxx is opening in Toowoomba on Saturday, May, 6.

The global megastore has revealed when it will open its doors

What public holidays are left in 2017

HOLIDAYS: Out and about at Dicky Beach are Janine and Cooper, 3, Smith with Tamara and Harrison Polzin, 18 months.

THE Easter break is almost over but there are plenty of days off yet

Amber Heard, billionaire Elon Musk in Queensland

ACTRESS Amber Heard’s billionaire boyfriend Elon Musk has finally been spotted out and about in on the Gold Coast.

Dave Hughes almost went too far in Logies monologue

Dave Hughes skewered the A-list in his opening monologue

Mackay lawyer dishes on MKR behind the scenes

Della Whearty from MKR.

Mackay lawyer talks her My Kitchen Rules journey.

Movie review: Going in Style a grey-powered crowd pleaser

Alan Arkin, Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine in a scene from the movie Going in Style.

The tale of three men and a mobility scooter a tad formulaic.

Logies 2017: Meldrum's odd speech as Samuel Johnson wins Gold

Samuel Johnson shows off his Best Actor gong before going onto win the Gold.

Samuel Johnson named Gold Logie Winner of the 59th Annual TV Week Gold Logie...

Logies 2017: Who's taken the coveted gongs?

Kerri-Anne Kennerley poses with the Hall Of Fame Logie Award.

Award winners from Australian television industry's night of nights

Lisa Curry and fiance sell up Sunshine Coast property

I'm a Celebrity, Get me Out of Here! contestant Lisa Curry with partner Mark Tabone after being evicted from the South African jungle. Picture: Dylan Robinson ***EMBARGOED 7:30pm March 9th***

Plans for dream home on hold at Mount Mellum place on market

SOLD: Iconic M'boro pub set to be transformed

Shane Muller from Maryborough Motorcycles will be opening up a showroom and café at the Shamrock Hotel.

The Shamrock Hotel is set to be transformed in the next two months.

Coast developer looks to prime real estate's future

MANY OPTIONS: Sunshine Coast developer Graeme Juniper is considering what to do with a prime piece of real estate he owns on Radical Bay on Magnetic Island, near Townsville.

Radical Bay is World Environment Heritage-listed.

This small box of a unit just sold for $1 million

Elizabeth Bay unit has charming views to Sydney Heads.

If this doesn't scream 'housing bubble', nothing does.

DREAM HOMES: 10 properties with a million-dollar price tag

5 Lawson Street, Laguna Quays

10 properties in the Mackay region with a million-dollar price tag.

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!