The repeal of the carbon tax will deliver a mixed bag of power bill savings to businesses depending on where they operate.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott promised the repeal would deliver a nine per cent saving in electricity prices and cut gas bills by seven per cent.
However, a study by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has found that for small and medium-sized businesses the saving could be as low as 5.2 per cent and as high as 9.7 per cent.
ACCC chair Rod Sims told an energy conference in Melbourne on Monday the watchdog had projected savings of between 5.2 per cent and 6.3 per cent in South Australia.
Cuts for other states and territories included: Victoria (7.4 to 9.7 per cent), ACT (9.3 to 9.5 per cent), Queensland (8.5 to 9.1 per cent) and NSW (7 to 8.3 per cent).
Mr Sims said the savings were still “significant” and would be higher for larger businesses.
“For larger users … the savings will be larger, as your network costs are a smaller part of your energy bill,” Mr Sims told the annual Energy Users Association of Australia conference.
The figures came as Mr Abbott visited BHP Billiton’s new Caval Ridge coal mine in central Queensland, where he talked up the future of coal and attacked Labor for wanting to reintroduce carbon pricing.
“Let’s have no demonisation of coal – coal is good for humanity, coal is good for prosperity, coal is an essential part of our economic future,” Mr Abbott said.
He said Labor would bring back the carbon tax if re-elected and put thousands of regional jobs at risk, as well as drive power prices up.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said Labor had ruled out the carbon tax but was committed to an emissions trading scheme.
“I want the market to set the prices on these matters,” he said.
“But we keep not talking about the biggest single issue, which is renewable energy.”
Environment Minister Greg Hunt told an energy users conference the government was close to finalising its new emissions reduction policy to replace carbon pricing.
He said the $2.55 billion over four years set aside to buy carbon abatement would allow a wide range of programs, from installing energy efficient appliances to storing carbon in the soil.
“We will ensure that as many businesses as possible can participate in the emissions reduction fund at the outset,” Mr Hunt said.