Surging power bills to rise $200 a year

POWER bills across New South Wales are set to skyrocket by hundreds of dollars per household as electricity providers hike up prices.

AGL, Energy Australia and Origin have all revealed their prices will rise after the NSW Government rejected an Australian Energy Regulator determination that would have forced energy distribution networks to cut prices.

AGL has announced an 11% price hike, Origin Energy bills will increase by 10% and Energy Australia prices will rise 9.8% on average statewide.

NSW Labor said a two-adult, two-child household using about 6000kW of electricity a year would face increases of between $146.92 and $247.75, depending on their retailer and specific power plan.

A retired couple using around 4700kW a year would face increases between $122.80 and $199.60.

Joel Gibson from One Big Switch wrote that a COAG effort to control soaring power prices in 2012 was now "bogged in expensive litigation between regulators and networks".

Electricity networks Ausgrid, Endeavour Energy and Essential Energy railed against the AER's 2015 price caps, claiming they could not operate under such tight financial restrictions.

In February, the Australian Competition Tribunal directed the AER to review its decision.

The matter is still before the courts.

At the time, Public Interest Advocacy Centre CEO Edward Santow warned prices would get higher.

"Network charges make up around 50% of household electricity bills," he said.

"This decision will see prices go up but we are months away from knowing by how much.

"When the appeals process is finally over, there's a significant risk of bill shock as electricity providers play catch-up on how much they can recoup from NSW consumers."

Labor MP Ryan Park said that prediction had come true.

"The government should be doing all it can to make the cost of living more affordable for the public," he said.

"Instead, they're busy with expensive court battles to raise power bills." -ARM NEWSDESK



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