Coast power users switched off

RISE: NSW residents are being slugged with a hefty increase.
RISE: NSW residents are being slugged with a hefty increase.

COFFS Coast residents are preparing to well and truly buckle their belts after it was announced yesterday electricity bills will soar by up to 64 per cent over the next three years.

A canvas of the community yesterday revealed most Coffs Coast residents are going to seriously struggle with the predicted increases, which have been blamed squarely on the Federal Government’s proposed emissions trading scheme (ETS).

With average electricity bills expected to skyrocket by between $577 and $918 a year by 2013, it’s no wonder consumers are up in arms.

Emma Hoad of Coffs Harbour said it would up the cost of her board which means she’d have to give up other activities.

For Ralph Price of Woolgoolga, it means the rise in his pension would be eaten up.

The Federal Government’s ETS, twice rejected by the Senate, is behind a big chunk of the latest increases, IPART says. Rising network costs have also contributed.

The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) confirmed Energy Australia bills will rise 60 per cent, adding $754 to a typical household customer’s bill by 2013.

Integral Energy and Country Energy bills will rise 46 per cent and 64 per cent respectively in the same period, adding $577 and $918 to typical customers’ bills.

IPART said all the increases will be lower if the ETS is scrapped. They said over the three years to June 2013, if the ETS is not (not) introduced, average prices will increase by a cumulative total of 20 per cent for Integral Energy, 36 per cent for EnergyAustralia, and 42 per cent for Country Energy.

But whatever happens, average prices will increase by seven per cent from July this year for Integral Energy customers, 10 per cent for EnergyAustralia customers, and 13 per cent for Country Energy customers.

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