Master Electricians Australia  (MEA) has called for a focus on off-peak power to ease pressure on infrastructure and prices.

Welcoming the Queensland Government’s review of household electricity tariffs, MEA chief executive Malcolm Richards said the Government should aim to shift the demand of power to off-peak times by restricting the increases in Tariffs 31 and 33.

According to Mr Richards, consumers need to be shifted away from using energy at peak times, when it is most expensive to produce; the most effective way to do that is through a price differential between peak and off-peak power prices – one which is large enough to encourage people to make the switch.

Though the Queensland Government has rightly identified the cost of investing in the network as the largest driver of power prices in the state at the moment, this additional network capacity is really only required for a few hours each day at peak demand times.

Mr Richards explains that the only way to contain these costs is to reduce peak demand. By helping homeowners isolate non-essential equipment during these peak times, the need for further costly investment will be reduced.

The previous Queensland Government had made it easier for consumers to switch to off-peak tariffs by allowing them to wire a power point in their homes for pool pump use, where previously off-peak appliances had to be hard-wired into the home’s electrics.

The current government can further encourage this by allowing the standard tariff (Tariff 11) to reflect the true cost of delivering peak power, but limiting or preventing increases in the off-peak Tariffs 31 and 33, which will act as an incentive to home owners to switch to off-peak power, cutting demand at peak times and reducing the need for expensive infrastructure spending.

Mr Richards adds that Master Electricians would be preparing a submission to the Queensland review.