Electricity price hike coming

NEW South Wales residents will pay an average 18% more for their electricity from July 1, with the carbon price and increased network costs driving the increase.

The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal released its final determination on Wednesday, detailing how much the state's regulated electricity retailers could charge on average residential and small business customers from July 1.

IPART's decision was higher than the 16% price increase indicated in the draft decision in April, reflecting updated estimates of costs of generating electricity.

The carbon price, which comes into effect on July 1, will account for 8.9% of the 18% increase, with the rising cost of poles and wires making up 8.4%.

IPART analysis indicates the Federal Government's carbon price financial assistance package, money from which has already started flowing into people's bank accounts, will adequately compensate the large majority of low-income households for the impact on their electricity bills.

Country Energy customers will be hardest hit by the hike, with a 19.7% increase adding $8.21 per week to the average residential bill ($427 per annum) and $10.67 per week to the average small business bill ($555pa).

People relying on Energy Australia for their electricity face a 20.6% hike, which translates to about $7 per week ($364pa) on an average residential bill and $9.07 ($472pa) for small business.

Integral Energy customers will feel the least financial pain, with the company's prices increasing 11.8% from July 1.

This will add on average $4 per week ($208pa) to residential bills and $5.19 ($270pm) for small business.

Gas prices will also increase by 9-15% across NSW from July 1. IPART said price increases for individual gas customers would depend on their standard retailer and their annual consumption.

For the majority of customers the carbon price will add 6-9% to their gas bill, with the rest of the rise coming from increases in gas distribution network prices, which are regulated by the Australian Energy Regulator.

In revealing its decision IPART also made a number of recommendations aimed at improving the future affordability of electricity.

"We would like to ensure that the electricity industry works for the long term interests of customers," IPART chairman Dr Peter Boxall said.

"There are aspects of the National Electricity Rules and the National Electricity Law that could be changed to reduce pressure on prices and to make sure that expenditure on the electricity network is efficient.

"We've also outlined some areas around reliability standards, green schemes, and subsidies that could be reviewed to limit future price increases."

As part of the consultation process IPART received 24 responses to its draft report and held a public forum in Sydney.

POWER PAIN

  • Electricity prices will increase by an average of 18% from July 1. The average price increases will vary for customers of the three regulated electricity retailers as follows:
  • Energy Australia 20.6%: $7 per week ($364 per annum) on an average residential customer bill, bringing the total average annual bill to $2127
  • Integral Energy 11.8%: $4 per week ($208 per annum) on an average residential customer bill, bringing the total average annual bill to $1972
  • Country Energy 19.7%: $8.21 per week ($427 per annum) on an average residential customer bill, bringing the total average annual bill to $2590


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