Without a doubt, the economy here in North Queensland is doing it extremely tough. For North Queensland to overcome this we need to adapt to the new world. To successfully adjust, sometimes we must embrace change. This is not a popular subject and it will unquestionably ruffle some feathers. It is important, however, to point out the huge benefits daylight saving would have in helping to reduce our power bills.
North Queensland is being subsidised almost $650 million by the Government to keep our power bills at their existing level. Without this subsidy, places like Cairns would be paying about $1 per kWH for electricity and Townsville around 50 cents per kWH, instead of the current price of approximately 28 cents.
The main contributing factor to the high cost of electricity in North Queensland is the demand we place on power during peak periods. These peak periods are between the times of 4 pm and 8 pm, which is when the majority of us come home from work. We cook dinner, take a hot shower, turn on our television, air-conditioners, and many other household appliances.
Ergon is now turning to Time of Use metering to combat this huge problem. However, if North Queensland moved to daylight savings, solar power would still be working effectively to reduce large parts of our peak usage between 4 pm and 7:30 pm. In 2015, there will be almost 50,000 houses in North Queensland with solar power.
Daylight saving has the ability to reduce the peak demand significantly. Undoubtedly, people with solar will benefit massively, however, it’s also important to remember that daylight saving would drive down costs for all of us. Additionally, it would enable private investments to fix the problem which will save tax payers.
One of North Queensland’s greatest assets is sunlight and it makes sense for us to utilise it to its full potential. Our economy would significantly benefit if we could funnel some of that annual $650 million into infrastructure projects in North Queensland instead of fossil fuel emissions.