POWER TO THE PEOPLE: Energy Minister Dr Anthony Lynham.
POWER TO THE PEOPLE: Energy Minister Dr Anthony Lynham. Chris Ison ROK240118crookwood2

POWER MOVE: Gladstone customers to have more options

RESIDENTIAL electricity customers in Gladstone are set to benefit from the roll-back of a State Government policy which prevents them returning to state-owned Ergon Energy if they had previously switched to a private company.

Recent rumours that electricity provider QEnergy was newly available to homes in Gladstone as an alternative to Ergon have been met with excitement on social media from customers keen to explore their options.

QEnergy chief executive Scott Henderson yesterday said he was pleased people were talking about more competition in town, but the rumours were based on a misunderstanding that other companies were not already able to offer electricity to regional residential customers.

He said the company had focused on the commercial side of its retail provision, but had recently begun to market its home services more widely, and this could be behind the new interest.

"I would hope that maybe as more people are aware of energy price issues... they are looking to other companies to see what's on offer," he said.

A State Government policy that prevented customers who left Ergon from returning to the government-owned provider was one reason it had been difficult for private companies to gain a hold in regional markets, he said.

Energy Minister Anthony Lynham said the Government was moving ahead with an election commitment to rolling back that policy.

"The legislation to make this possible has been introduced to the Parliament, examined by a parliamentary committee, and is due to be debated soon," Dr Lynham said.

"Removing the policy will give regional customers more choice and control over their energy bills."

Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington has pledged to make it easier for private companies to compete in the regional energy market, saying regional communities were "chained to Ergon".