Stronger support for high energy-using small businesses

20 November 2015

The Queensland Government has acted to expand the role of the Energy and Water Ombudsman Queensland, passing legislation that gives more small businesses access to their services.

State Member for Morayfield, Mark Ryan MP, said small businesses with big energy needs such as bakeries and laundries will have greater support to resolve disputes with their electricity retailers thanks to the changes.

“The Energy and Water Ombudsman Amendment Bill 2015, which was passed by the Parliament, will give more than 5,000 additional small businesses access to the Ombudsman’s free dispute resolution services,” Mr Ryan said.

“Small businesses are the lifeblood of our local economy and we want to make sure they’re getting the support they need so they can get on with serving and employing locals.

“We’ve been hearing from small businesses and industry groups that many high energy-using small businesses are finding it difficult to resolve issues with their electricity retailer, such as incorrect or late bills and connection problems.

“High energy-using small businesses such as bakeries, laundries, small supermarkets and small food production and manufacturing companies often simply don’t have the expertise or the time to effectively negotiate with their electricity retailer.

“Under the previous legislation, the Energy and Water Ombudsman Queensland (EWOQ) can only assist small businesses that use less than 100 megawatt hours (MWh) of electricity a year.

“These changes will allow non-residential small customers consuming between 100 and 160 MWh of electricity per year access to EWOQ services.”

Mr Ryan said the amendments also apply to not-for-profit organisations, community groups and amateur sporting clubs consuming the same amount of energy.

“This is a great example of how the Queensland Labor Government is helping small businesses and other organisations in our community get on with delivering their products and services.”