Farmers sought for electricity tariff talks

Expressions of interest are being sought from Queensland and New South Wales farmers to participate in a research study aiming to better understand how they consider and choose electricity tariffs for their agricultural operations.

The research project is a collaboration between the Queensland Farmers’ Federation (QFF) and the University of Queensland, with funding from Energy Consumers Australia, and aims to assist farmers in the tariff decision making process and support greater inclusion of farmers’ needs in the design of more flexible tariffs.

QFF CEO Dr Georgina Davis said the complex tariff configuration, limited offering in rural areas, specific access requirements and multiple electricity meters often made it difficult for farmers and agribusinesses to choose the optimal tariff.

“In order for farmers and agribusinesses to make these important tariff decisions, the agriculture sector requires a better understanding of the challenges around energy use, while also advocating for greater flexibility in the design of tariffs,” Dr Davis said.

“This study will provide farmers with tools to better select and manage electricity tariffs that lead to reductions in electricity costs and opportunities to manage demand.”

“It will also provide insights into the role of feed-in tariffs as a motivator or barrier to farmers’ adoption of energy productivity initiatives as well as solar and battery systems, allowing a more strategic design of Distributed Energy Retailer (DER) initiatives.”

The project partners are seeking farmers from across Queensland and New South Wales to undertake a confidential 30-minute phone or Zoom interview with researchers from the University of Queensland during September and October 2021, with participating farmers receiving a $40 gift card.

“The questions will focus on electricity tariffs, options to change them, energy consumption and generation systems. The results will be used to assist in tariff design and the production of materials to assist farmers in evaluating tariff choices,” Dr Davis said.

“We encourage interested farmers to complete the Expression of Interest form and upload a recent electricity bill by Friday, 17 September 2021 and a member of the QFF Energy Savers team will be in touch.”

Complete the Expression of Interest form: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/Z7NVMWZ.

Source: QFF