Bracing for power price surge

NSW residents will be shocked when they open their next power bill after the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) allowed electricity prices to increase by close to 18 per cent.

The average resident would pay between $216 and $316 more a year, while the average business would pay between $307 and $528 more a year.

Member for Tweed Geoff Provest said the price of electricity needed a sweeping review.

“I do have pensioners who come to me and say they are having cold showers because they can’t afford electricity,” Mr Provest said.

“But we are putting discounts in for low-income earners and doing all we can to minimise the impact.

“We are dealing with infrastructure that was chronically under-funded by the last government.”

Electricity prices will rise due to higher network costs and the impact of the Federal Government’s Renewable Energy Target (RET) scheme.

IPART chairman Rod Sims said the price hikes would be “difficult for many families to deal with and are of serious concern”.

There was also bad news for future bills with IPART projecting increases of between 2-10 per cent from July 1, 2012.

“No one welcomes these price increases,” Mr Sims said.

“However the network fees that retailers must pay in 2011/12 will increase signifi- cantly.

“Retailers also have a legal obligation to meet their revised targets under the Federal Government’s RET scheme.

“The price increases allow retailers to recover these increased costs of doing business.

“We are very concerned that these price increases will particularly affect households with large electricity consumption levels and low incomes, typically families.”

IPART called on the federal and NSW governments to do more to correct “inappropriate” network and green policy settings that may be putting upward pressure on electricity prices.

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