Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Power suppliers to raise average prices by up to 42%. NSW Government offers pensioners extra $15 annual rebate to cope.

As at 30 June 2009, there were twenty-nine power companies holding electricity retail supplier licences in NSW and Energy Australia, Integral Energy and Country Energy account for approximately 81% this retail market.

Integral Energy, Energy Australia and Country Energy are all owned by the New South Wales Government.

The Review of regulated retail tariffs and charges for electricity 2010-2013: Electricity — Final Report March 2010 shows that:

Integral Energy average regulated retail tariffs will rise by 7% in 2010-11, 14% in 2011-12 and 20% in 2012-13.
Energy Australia average regulated retail tariffs will rise by 10% in 2010-11, 16% in 2011-12 and 25% in 2012-13.
Country Energy average regulated retail tariffs will rise by 13% in 2010-11, 17% in 2011-12 and 24% in 2012-13.

The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal stated in a recent media release:

From 1 July 2010, average annual prices will increase by 7% for Integral Energy customers, 10% for EnergyAustralia customers, and 13% for Country Energy customers.
Over the next 3 years to June 2013, average prices will increase by a cumulative total of 20% for Integral Energy, 36% for EnergyAustralia, and 42% for Country Energy.
IPART Acting Chairman and CEO Mr Jim Cox said: "The network increases, which were determined by the AER, will allow network service providers to increase investment in infrastructure and improve network security and reliability of supply in line with the new licence conditions imposed by the NSW Government".

For single Aged, Disability or Veterans' Affairs pensioners living alone this will possibly mean a cost increase of somewhere between $30+ for the very power frugal over the coming winter to $65+ for those who need to regularly put the electric heater on to keep warm.

In the 2008-09 financial year 2,659 pensioners had their electricity disconnected at least once over that time. One has to wonder how many more will find themselves in this position in 2010-11.

Somehow I don't think that NSW Energy Minister John Robertson's promise that the Government would increase rebates from $130 to $145 a year to more than one million consumers to help cover the costs of the rise will ease concerns felt in may low-income households.

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