NSW electricity prices have turned a corner and households and small businesses will finally see some relief from Labor’s double-digit price hikes with electricity prices for 2013-14 to rise by just 1.7%, compared with an 18% increase last year.
Energy Minister Chris Hartcher said the indicative price rises over the next three years determined by the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) have largely been driven by the NSW Government’s cap on network costs and ongoing reform of the distribution businesses.
“1 July 2013 will mark a turning point for electricity prices and for NSW electricity customers. We have finally turned a corner – prices have plateaued with rises less than CPI,” Mr Hartcher said.
“And IPART expects prices to rise by approximately 1.8% next year, with prices to decline by 6.9% in 2015-16.
“The NSW Government committed to capping rising network prices at CPI or below from 1 July 2013 after uncovering more than $2.5 billion in unnecessary capital expenditure and operating costs under Labor.
“Given network costs are responsible for approximately half the total power bill, the Government’s savings are having a very real impact.
“After experiencing an 80% increase in power prices over the last five years we know that families are already struggling to manage high power bills, but households can be confident that the days of Labor’s double-digit price hikes are over.”
IPART has confirmed that Labor’s carbon tax will continue to add a significant cost impost to household power bills, with green schemes adding approximately $332 to the average annual bill.
“This means that household power bills would be $172 cheaper if Labor scrapped its disastrous carbon tax, not to mention the $38 charge to cover the costs of John Robertson’s blown out Solar Bonus Scheme and an additional $107 for the Federal Government’s Renewable Energy Target,” Mr Hartcher said.
With uncertainty regarding future wholesale gas supply and costs, the NSW Government remains concerned by an average 8.5% increase in gas prices but welcomes IPART’s decision to undertake an annual review of wholesale costs.
“Over 940,000 households are eligible to receive a NSW Government rebate, including the Low Income Household Rebate which rises to $225 from 1 July and the Family Energy Rebate, which rises to $125 from 1 July. The money is there, the assistance is available and the Government wants eligible households to take advantage of this funding,” Mr Hartcher said.
Information on NSW Government rebates is available online at www.trade.nsw.gov.au/energy or by calling the Energy Information Line on 1300 136 888.