Fixed charges return to electricity bill for drought areas

DROUGHT-affected farmers in Banana Shire, Gladstone, Fraser Coast, Bundaberg, North Burnett and Gympie areas have been given a much-needed reprieve on their electricity bills through Ergon Energy.

Treasurer Curtis Pitt said Ergon Energy had waived the fixed charge component of electricity bills for more than 1,500 accounts for farmers since April 30.

"While technically the declaration for this area was lifted at the end of April, Ergon has rightly continued waiving fixed charges for farmers through to last month," Mr Pitt said.

"The normal charges are being reinstated into electricity bills but before they are we gave farmers additional time to switch tariffs to options with lower fixed chargers for farmers and irrigators.

"Right now the important thing is helping farmers get back on their feet as our drought-hit communities start to recover."

Minister for Energy and Water Supply Mark Bailey said farmers and irrigators can use electricity under any one of three specific transitional farming and irrigation tariffs or two general business tariffs.

"During drought events, Ergon Energy Queensland provides assistance to farmers and irrigators affected areas by waiving the fixed charge component of their electricity bills," Mr Bailey said.

"Providing a time-limited waiver on fixed charges is a small but practical way of helping to alleviate some of the financial stresses farmers face.

"In particular I'd like to acknowledge Canegrowers for their advocacy on this important issue and quickly alerting government to the difficulties farmers faced with the lifting of the drought declared status."