Power hikes hit family budgets

Electricity prices will rise by up to 20% from July.
Electricity prices will rise by up to 20% from July.

ELECTRICITY prices will rise by up to 20% from July, placing extra burden on household budgets.

The carbon tax will add a 9% hike onto annual power bills, equating to about $170 from July.

Households on the North Coast, however, can expect to pay an extra $381 on their annual power bills and small businesses an extra $494 a year.

The astronomical rise in power pricing over the past six years equates to an increase of 113%, the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal found.

"We are concerned inappropriate policy settings have increased costs to retailers and led to electricity prices being higher than necessary," IPART chair Peter Boxall said.

Federal Climate Change Minister Greg Combet said it was important to remember the Gillard Government would offer tax cuts and increases in family tax benefits and pensions to compensate for the carbon tax.

"We are looking at an average electricity price increase of $3.30 a week and an average level of household assistance of $10.10 per week," Mr Combet said.

Cowper MP Luke Hartsuyker put a different spin on the price rise.

"Electricity prices for Country Energy (now know as Essential Energy) will rise by 17.6% from July 1," Mr Hartsuyker said.

"This is the first time the carbon tax has been factored into electricity price rises and makes a mockery of Prime Minister Julia Gillard's claim that her carbon tax will only increase prices by 0.7%.

"Every increase in the price will place further pressure on households and small businesses, already struggling from rises in the cost of living."

Mr Hartsuyker said the Coalition would seek a mandate to rescind the carbon tax at the next election.

Topics:  carbon tax, electricity price increase, luke hartsuyker




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