Queensland State Premier, Peter Beattie has ruled out full retail competition for the state’s electricity market.

He said that an independent study had shown that full competition could result in some customers paying three times more than under the current regulated system. “The independent analysis showed that these dramatic increases were especially likely in regional areas of the state,” he said.

“It would be madness to blindly follow this national competition policy ideology, which would bring misery to thousands of Queenslanders.”

Mr Beattie said he had written to the federal Government and Opposition seeking assurances that competition payments made to the state, which are worth hundreds of millions of dollars, would not be penalised by the decision.

Queensland has already introduced retail power competition for large energy consumers who use more than 200 MW hours per year. This has achieved up to 40 per cent reduction in power prices to industry.

Mr Beattie said the state Government was also reviewing when competition would be introduced to small business customers who use between 100 and 200 MW hours a year.

Queensland is part of the National Electricity Market, which also includes New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia. New South Wales and Victoria have indicated that they will open competition at household level from January.

South Australia has yet to confirm that it will open household competition from an indicated January 2003 starting date.