Power costs set to jump 20%

COFFS Coast residents are about to be slugged with close to a 20 per cent electricity price rise within the next 12 months.

And local MP Andrew Fraser has called on the Rees Government to reject the increase.

“Local families already doing it tough will be slugged with up to an extra $221.40 a year and small businesses hit with higher charges if Nathan Rees doesn't reject these outrageous price hikes,” Mr Fraser told the Coffs Coast Advocate.

“The price hikes recommended by IPART this week in its draft determination on regulated retail electricity prices are completely unjustifiable in the current economic climate, especially seeing as this price hike proposal comes on the back of IPART's own, just released, data showing as many as 50 households a day are having their electricity disconnected because they cannot afford their bill.

In a draft determination on regulated retail electricity prices, the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) has stated that the wholesale electricity costs have increased substantially.

“IPART has concluded that wholesale purchase costs have increased substantially and that the allowance for purchase costs should increase to reflect this,” IPART Chairman Dr Michael Keating said.

The draft states “as a result of the increase in the electricity purchase allowance alone, retail prices will increase by six per cent for Energy Australia and Integral Energy and five per cent for Country Energy.”

Network price increases for Country Energy are 12.7 per cent. The extra $4.10 on top of current Country Energy bills represents an increase of about 18.5 per cent for its customers.

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