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Power cost shock to businesses

by
April 07, 2017

Damian Drum has highlighted the impact of skyrocketing power bills on local businesses.

Electricity prices are projected to skyrocket in coming months following the closure of the Hazelwood power station and local businesses are already starting to feel the flow-on effects.

One local business has received quotes that are triple what was previously paid, and could amount to an increase in costs of more than $300000.

Speaking in Federal Parliament last month, Member for Murray Damian Drum called attention to the rising prices in the Victorian energy system.

‘‘I refer the minister to the situation of Pullar Cold Storage in Cobram in my electorate of Murray, which is experiencing significant increases in energy charges,’’ he said in a question without notice.

Mr Drum called on Environment and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg to update the parliament on the issue.

Mr Frydenberg said family-owned business Pullar Cold Storage dated back nearly seven decades and employed 15 people, and recently went out to tender for its electricity contracts.

‘‘The offers that came back were 135 per cent higher than over the previous three years, some $350000 higher than over the previous three years,’’ Mr Frydenberg said.

Pullar Cold Storage director Dean Pullar said the rising electricity pricing was a concern.

‘‘It is what it is, we have to try and keep costs from going up as much as we can,’’ he said.

‘‘It looks like it’s going to come back triple on what the prices were last time we went to tender, and it could have a significant impact,’’ Mr Pullar said.

‘‘It is a huge financial cost and it’s something you’re going to have to try and talk to those in your market about.’’

Mr Pullar said the increase in pricing could be a knee-jerk reaction from providers to the closure of the Hazelwood power station.

While a few months left on current contracts has given him some breathing space to look at different options, Mr Pullar said he would also be considering renewable energy sources, such as installing solar panels.

Mr Frydenberg said he acknowledged Mr Drum’s deep concern for the rising electricity prices in the Murray electorate.

‘‘That is why we on this side of the House are determined to rein in network costs, determined to get more gas into the market,’’ he said.

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