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.

Take care on the roads today in memory of Kate

REMEMBERING KATE: Marg Henry stands by 'Kate's garden' with her daughter's childhood teddy bear.

Fatality Free Friday exists so fewer families will lose loved ones.

Why Toowoomba should take in more migrants

Toowoomba and south-west Queensland needs to take on more migrants

Man airlifted, Warrego Hwy shut after machinery incident

A Chinchilla man in his 50s will be airlifted to hospital after an incident on the Warrego Highway, 8km west of Chinchilla, around midday.

Motorists are urged to avoid the area about 10km west of Chinchilla

Local Partners

Adani deal: Qld Govt finally agrees on royalty scheme

STATE Cabinet has agreed on a new royalty payment scheme for Adani’s Carmichael coalmine plus others in the Surat Basin

What to expect at Birds of Tokyo's Ipswich gig

The band will perform at the Racehorse Hotel on Friday.

BAND member Glen Sarangapany talks music, pub grub and doing shoeys

What public holidays are left in 2017

Ipswich residents will get the day off tomorrow for the show.

IPSWICH residents will get tomorrow off for the show

Caitlyn comes home to launch debut album

Gympie's Caitlyn Shadbolt will launch here debut album Songs On My Sleeve at an exclusive all-ages concert in Gympie on Friday, May 26.

Win tickets to Caitlyn's album launch

Book review: Mia Freedman's book meets her critics head on

IF AUSTRALIA does have a tall poppy syndrome, Mia Freedman has most certainly been a victim.

Model Bella Hadid's see-through dress shocks in Cannes

US model Bella Hadid attends the Cinema Against AIDS amfAR gala 2017 held at the Hotel du Cap, Eden Roc in Cap d'Antibes, France, 25 May 2017.

It’s like she’s become addicted to shock value.

No room for morbid fans

Chris Cornell.

Fans want to stay in the hotel room where Chris Cornell died

Star Wars' 1977 Stormtrooper head banger confesses

A Stormtrooper is responsible for the biggest blunder in a Star Wars movie. Picture: Supplied

Man in most famous blooper in Star Wars history breaks silence

Lyn's knock-out show gets her to next round on The Voice

ONWARDS AND UPWARDS: Lyn Bowtell is through to the battle rounds on The Voice.

'It was bitter sweet to win like that'

Report reveals progress on $319m airport upgrade

Aerials of the Sunshine Coast.Jetstar plane in front of the Susnhine Coast terminal, Sunshine Coast Airport.

Over two dozen government approvals needed for airport expansion

Lost dough leaves sour taste after company collapse

Kathleen and John Mahoney from Sugar and Spice Bakery were stung after the collapse of Cantro Pty Ltd and are still owed money.

Supermarket operator collapse leaves sour taste for bakery

Open for inspection homes May 25-31

Check out this weekend's homes open for inspection

How Toowoomba house prices compare in Australia

For sale sign in front of home.

Here's what $700,000 will buy you in Toowoomba, Brisbane and Sydney

One of Maryborough's most historic homes is still for sale

FULL OF HISTORY: Trisha Moulds is owner of the historic Tinana state known as Rosehill. The beautiful home is currently for sale.

It has been the scene of both joy and tragedies over the years.

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!