Energy laws: stifling

Date

4BC News: Queensland's biggest energy provider has sent a warning to consumers and the Newman government after a court threw out its challenge to the state's electricity prize freeze.

The Supreme Court in Brisbane on Wednesday dismissed Origin Energy's action against the 2012/2013 electricity price set by the Queensland Competition Authority (QCA).

Lawyers for the company had argued the figure was too low and didn't reflect the actual cost of producing and supplying electricity.

Origin managing director Grant King said the company would not appeal the decision, but Origin was determined to seek "a transparent framework" for setting electricity tariffs.

He warned the existing regulatory framework risked "the long-term viability and competitiveness" of Queensland's electricity sector.

"(It) will ultimately lessen competition for consumers and stifle future investment in electricity generation," he said in a statement.

The decision underlined the importance of energy market reforms currently being discussed by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG), Mr King added.

Energy Minister Mark McArdle said the decision was good news for Queensland families.

"It means there will be no increase to the regulated prices set by the QCA for 2012/13," he said in a statement.

The Newman government announced in April it would freeze electricity prices for 12 months from July 2012 on the back of an election promise to keep the cost of living down.

Origin at first increased its household tariffs above the fixed price in a move that would have cost many consumers an extra $400 per year.

The company eventually bowed to pressure and reduced its rates, before launching the legal challenge which was heard on December 3 and 4 this year.

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