Energy merger won’t reduce power prices: expert

MERGING Queensland's two electricity distributors could cut overheads but an expert believes price deregulation will have a bigger effect on the price households pay for power.

Queensland Parliament passed legislation late on Wednesday night to merge Ergon and Energex into a single company, Energy Queensland.

Griffith University energy market expert Liam Wagner said although reducing overheads could lower prices, the deregulation of the electricity market would likely cause prices to increase.

Dr Wagner said deregulation had resulted in higher prices in other countries.

He said he hoped Energy Queensland could improve wiring used in rural areas.

"The transmission line Ergon has used is very long and very thin," he said.

"What needs to change is the technology in some of the areas."

Master Electricians Australia chief Malcolm Richards said the merger itself was not a concern, but a separate energy services business could compete with independent businesses in regional Queensland.

"I believe every dollar gained from this energy services subdivision will be a dollar taken from the pockets of regional businesses," Mr Richards said.

Energy Minister Mark Bailey told the ABC on Thursday the MEA's concerns were unfounded.

"It's really not based in fact," Mr Bailey said.

"There's very clear regulations to make sure that doesn't happen," he said.

"I understand their concerns but I don't think they really understand the bill that passed last night."

Mr Bailey said Energy Queensland would operate in emerging areas such as solar power and household batteries, from which electricians would benefit.- ARM NEWSDESK



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