Queensland Electricity Users Network collects data from Mount Isa businesses

The Diamantina Power Station supplies power to Mount Isa, which is not connected to the national grid.
The Diamantina Power Station supplies power to Mount Isa, which is not connected to the national grid.

THE Queensland Electricity Users Network has not received a strong enough reaction from the Mount Isa business community about its concerns for electricity prices. 

The QEUN coordinator said some business representatives they spoke to assume that the survey has no relevance because Mount Isa is not connected to the power grid. This had no bearing on the survey, the coordinator said.

The users network needed 200 surveys from each of the four local government areas it needed for its study.

It has 77 surveys from the Mount Isa community but could receive more by the deadline on Sunday. 

Mareeba, the Whitsundays, the Warwick and Stanthorpe area, and Mount Isa were each chosen due to the different industries that local businesses rely on. 

Each of the other areas have filled their quota except for the Whitsundays which still needed to return seven more surveys as of Monday. 

QEUN coordinator Jennifer Brownie said the collaborated findings from the surveys will go to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission which is inquiring into electricity supply. The commission’s final report reaches the Treasurer in June next year. 

Which many studies have examined vulnerable households the QEUN wanted to survey local businesses, which can be huge consumers of electricity and also impacts how much money there is to be spent in the community it belongs to. 

“Nobody has this type of data,” Ms Brownie said. 

Mount Isa was chosen for its reliance on the mining industry. The QEUN wanted to look at how these local businesses passed their power costs on to the consumer or its customer.

The link between a large mining company such as Glencore and its contractors is an example that the coordinator provided, but the QEUN did want a wide range of businesses responding to the survey. 

“By absorbing these costs are they reducing staff, or do they have to ask Glencore to pick up that tab?” Ms Brownie said. “Obviously the big mining companies are between a rock and a hard place too. 

“What are small businesses doing with this impact? Are they absorbing it or are they trying to pass it on?”

“It is absolutely vital information.” 

The online survey can be filled out at the QEUN website  or by phoning the users network on (07) 4031 2970 to arrange a phone interview.