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.

Woman killed, driver flees after Queensland crash

CODE BLACK: A Gladstone Hospital staff member has been threatened.

Police urge driver of Holden Commodore to come forward

Baby boy in Child Safety "backlog" before death

Child Safety was warned of potential danger three months prior

Adele fans to face hours of traffic chaos

Adele poses in the press room with the awards for album of the year for "25", song of the year for "Hello", record of the year for "Hello", best pop solo performance for "Hello", and best pop vocal album for "25" at the 59th annual Grammy Awards. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

Adele in Brisbane: Public transport system nightmare at Gabba

Local Partners

Baden Bond: Parents front court for toddler's murder

The court was told the pair did not want to appear in court in person, but the magistrate insisted they be brought into the dock.

CMC Rocks is just the ticket for Eric Paslay

HAPPY TO BE HERE: American country singer Eric Paslay will play CMC Rocks 2017.

Country music singer is touring overseas for the first time.

Daredevils of Nitro Circus to thrill Lismore

Oakes Oval in Lismore will host the sell-out, worldwide phenomenon that is Nitro Circus Live during its 15-city Australian tour in April.

The (in)famous 55-foot high Nitro Giganta ramp is the centrepiece

CHOOSING LIFE: Emu Park veteran leads way out of PTSD

WINNING THE FIGHT: Andrea Josephs with her daughter Kyla (10) at the Emu Park Anzac Memorial ahead of her official Matilda Poppy launch this weekend.

Andrea Josephs will officially launch Matilda Poppy in new hometown

HEARTBREAK: M'boro farmer misses out on love on reality show

Hearts broke when Sean Hollands was rejected by his bride Susan Rawlings on Married at First Sight.

MKR recap: The one where they actually get around to cooking

It’s amazing. They’re actually doing some cooking on this episode.

IT’S been nine weeks and the MKR teams shock us by actually cooking.

Controlling groom flips on wife

Nadia panics about Anthony’s backflip on Married At First Sight.

MAFS’ Anthony has backflipped, and his wife is about to crack.

Married at First Sight's controversial groom laying low

MAFS’ Anthony chooses to stay with wife Nadia at their vow renewal.

Anthony in hiding after backlash over his MAFS appearance

Broadway musical Kinky Boots coming to Queensland

Callum Francis and Toby Francis in a scene from the musical Kinky Boots.

High-heeled musical hit struts into Brisbane from August 2017.

Justice League drops new trailer

The Justice League, from left, Ezra Miller, Henry Cavill, Ray Fisher, Gal Gadot, Ben Affleck and Jason Momoa.

Are fans going to be happy with DC's newest installment?

‘I don’t know if I’ll tour again’

ADELE has dropped a bombshell as she finished her New Zealand tour.

Luxury hotel expands $400m water park development

Developer to push on with second stage of massive new water park

Oceanside commercial opportunity in Sunshine Coast hot spot

Adjoining Kings Beach redevelopment sites "one of a kind''

Dalwood waterfall up for sale

Two people have died at Dalwood Falls, Ballina.

How would you like to own your very own waterfall?

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!