Australia has gone from a competitive advantage in energy costs to one of the most expensive countries in the world. This significant change has impacted the productivity and profitability of many irrigated and intensified agricultural enterprises.
Regulated by the Queensland Competition Authority (QCA), tariffs in the Ergon network area, which have focused on irrigation needs, are increasingly difficult to access. Electricity tariffs in Australia have a complex configuration, with specific access requirements and multiple electricity metering points, making it difficult for irrigators and agro-industries to choose the optimal tariff. Although the QCA recognizes that education on electricity tariffs is necessary to help irrigators in the complex decision-making process, no strategy has yet been proposed, leaving many farmers in the dark.
To better understand how irrigators think about and choose electricity tariffs for their farming operations, the Queensland Farmers’ Federation and the University of Queensland, with funding from Energy Consumers Australia, launched a research study on electricity tariffs. The study aims to help irrigators in the decision-making process and to support greater consideration of the needs of irrigators in the design of more flexible electricity tariffs. It will provide farmers with tools to better select and manage electricity tariffs that lead to reductions in electricity costs and opportunities to manage demand.
Project partners are seeking irrigators from across Queensland and New South Wales to participate in the project by undertaking a confidential 30-minute phone or Zoom interview with researchers at the University of Queensland in September and October. Questions will focus on electricity tariffs, options to change them, energy consumption and production systems, with participating irrigators receiving a $ 40 gift card. Interested participants are encouraged to complete the expression of interest form on the QFF website and download a recent utility bill. A member of the QFF Energy Savers team will contact you. With more information and education, irrigators can access affordable electricity and improve their energy efficiency and productivity in the future.