Electricity prices set for a fall
RESIDENTS should see a fall in electricity prices by 0.7% from July 1.
Origin/Country Energy customers are predicted to get the reprieve but there could be a rise of 1.8% next year before the price falls again by 6.2% the following year.
Prices in New South Wales are tipped to fall by 6.9% on average from 2015 when Australia's carbon price links to the floating European market.
The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal made the prediction yesterday as it revealed electricity prices would rise by an average of 1.7% next month. After years of significant electricity price rises, consumers will take heart from IPART's prediction that the "likely direction of future prices is down".
The price of gas is set to rise by an average of 8.5% from July 1, with IPART chairman Peter Boxall describing the future of gas prices as "unclear".
Regulated electricity and gas prices apply to customers who have not taken up a competitive offer. In NSW, 60% of electricity consumers and 70% of gas consumers are on competitive offers that are generally lower than the regulated price.
A spokesman for federal Climate Change Minister Greg Combet said IPART's decision was good news for NSW households, particularly those with Country Energy.
He claimed the decision was a signal the reforms in the national electricity market were beginning to flow through to households.
"Network costs have been the main reason why electricity prices have risen in recent years, with a total rise of $580 a year since 2007-08 for the typical NSW household," the spokesman said.
He seized on IPART's description of last year's carbon price increase as a one-off effect, saying it was proof the impact of the scheme on electricity was around $3.30 per week for the average household.
"The carbon price is already working to reduce pollution, with emissions in the National Electricity Market down by 7.4% and renewable energy output up almost 30% in the first 11 months," he said.