AS the federal and state governments move to ensure the supply of gas to Australian consumers, retail prices for liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) have come under scrutiny at the highest level of politics.
Yet the Times contacted three local suppliers to ascertain the cost of one 45-kilogram cylinder, and found the prices differed considerably.
Getting a clear picture of the actual costs to the customer was difficult, with the need to take into account ‘honeymoon’ offers for new customers, limitations on discounts to customers setting up new accounts, and delivery charges.
Our straw poll showed customers can expect a price differential of at least $27 for the same product from retailers servicing the same region.
During budget week our federal representatives were approached for comment about the local variance in retail energy prices in general. Both Bert van Manen (member for Forde) and Scott Buccholz (member for Wright) were firmly on-message.
“Rising energy prices is certainly something residents in Forde are concerned about, particularly as the overall cost of living continues to rise,” Mr van Manen said.
“The Turnbull government announced its plan for affordable energy during the budget.
“Measures include securing local access to our local gas resources.”
Mr van Manen said the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) will police fair pricing in gas and electricity markets to ensure his constituents are getting “a fair deal”.
“The government is providing a one-off energy assistance payment this year of $75 for single recipients and $125 per couple for those eligible for qualifying payments on June 20, 2017 and who are resident in Australia,” he said.
“This will assist more than 24,800 people in Forde.”
Apart from a different figure of his constituents these measures would help (23,700 people), Mr Buccholz’s statement was much the same.
State gas supplies
The Palaszczuk government recently announced a plan to release 395 square kilometres of land in the Surat Basin for gas development, on top of the 58 sq km it released in February. Any gas produced in the zone would only be sold in Australia.
“Queensland certainly has been doing the heavy lifting on gas,” minister for natural resources and mines Dr Anthony Lynham recently told state parliament.
“Building enabling infrastructure, such as pipelines, is critical to growing the gas supply pie quickly and bringing more supply and more suppliers to the market to stabilise gas prices.
“Our aim is to increase supply to improve gas affordability for households and reliability for industry.
“We have the resources, the investors, and the political will to boost gas supply. We just need Malcolm Turnbull to get serious and to provide direct and substantial infrastructure investment in the national interest,” he said.
Is there a price war?
You tell us. Competition for gas customers in the Logan region appears to be putting downward pressure on prices. If you’re experiencing price differences on retail gas cylinders, please get in touch by email.