It was a no brainer for Graham Higgins to join the Queensland Energy Class Action.

The hotel owner from Toowoomba says the state run energy companies have been engaged in a form of unlawful taxation for years and he’s urging every Queenslander to join him.

Graham is one of around 12,500 individuals and businesses who have signed up for the class action against the Queensland Government’s state owned power generators – which stand accused of artificially inflating energy prices from 2013 to 2019.

Graham, who runs Vacy Hall, a historic boutique hotel in Toowoomba, pays around $25,000 every year on power bills and says any money that’s returned would be invested back in his business.

“Over the five years in question I paid around $125,000 in power bills. If I could even get back $25k that could mean I could put it towards paying for my new roof. For families with normal household bills, it could make a big difference in these very difficult times. For large businesses and body corporates the amounts they could get back would be a substantial benefit for shareholders and residents.

“When I heard about this class action I jumped at the chance and hope more people recognise they could benefit from this and join us.”

The state owned companies Stanwell and CS Energy have already been investigated for price gouging by the Australian Energy Regulator.

Graham said: “You would normally expect it’s the privatised companies that would rip off the public by price gouging and being anti-competitive, but not in this case. It’s really a form of unlawful increased taxation and these Queensland Government owned business have acted unethically. Everyone who had a power account in those six years should join this class action. It’s no win and no fee, and what we could get back is substantial.”

The class action being led by Piper Alderman alleges that CS Energy and Stanwell have been misusing their market power to artificially increase electricity prices in the Queensland region of the NEM which has caused significant increases in the cost of living for all residents and business owners in the State.