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Up, up, up go the power prices

By johnboy - 20 June 2011 33

electricity

The Independent Competition and Regulatory Commission has not yet bestirred itself to update its website, but the ABC informs us they’ve approved a 6.4% rise in the price of electricity for the coming financial year.

Acting senior commissioner Malcolm Gray says the main reason for the rise is the Federal Government’s increased renewable energy target (RET).

He says that accounts for 5 per cent of the 6.4 per cent increase.

Enjoy.

UPDATE: Simon Corbell has announced his pleasure that things aren’t as bad as in NSW.

“The decision by the ICRC to only increase electricity prices by 6.4% is very modest compared to a 17% increase in NSW and leaves ACT energy prices well below those across the border in Queanbeyan where consumers pay up to $1000 more per year for electricity,” Mr Corbell said.

The price increase will mean approximately a $1.65 increase to the average electricity bill per week, or $85 per year.

“The ACT Government is working hard to protect low income Canberra households from the rising cost of utilities.”

“The Government has recently announced increases to the energy rebate for low income households in Canberra which would see an extra concession payment of $131 dollars per year, taking the total utilities concession to $346.20 per annum,” Mr Corbell said.

FURTHER UPDATE: Here’s the ICRC media release:

The primary driver for the increase in electricity prices in the ACT is the enhanced Federal Government Renewable Energy Target (RET) which accounts for 5% out of the 6.4% increase. Network costs have risen as well, but the wholesale cost of electricity has fallen under the Commission’s methodology for determining the wholesale price of electricity,’ Mr Gray said.

According to the Acting Senior Commissioner, the Commission estimates that under the new tariffs, electricity costs for a typical residential customer will rise from $1,332 to $1,418 a year, or around $1.65 a week.

UPDATE 3: The full report is now online.

What’s Your opinion?


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33 Responses to
Up, up, up go the power prices
1
Gungahlin Al 1:11 pm
20 Jun 11
#

And how much of this increase was due to the Solar Feed-in Tariff? Not even mentioned by them as a factor. Does this put the lie to the assumption that many people have been making then?

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2
johnboy 1:14 pm
20 Jun 11
#

Gungahlin Al said :

And how much of this increase was due to the Solar Feed-in Tariff? Not even mentioned by them as a factor. Does this put the lie to the assumption that many people have been making then?

Yes Al, the magic money tree allows massive payments to the rich to come at no cost to anyone else.

Glad you’ve spotted that.

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3
Erg0 1:24 pm
20 Jun 11
#

If a typical household customer was paying $1332 a year, then apparently I need to examine my energy usage – I’m paying more than that in a two-person household with gas hot water and no air conditioning. I can only imagine what it’s going to cost once I get the meth lab hooked up!

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4
puggy 1:41 pm
20 Jun 11
#

Erg0 said :

If a typical household customer was paying $1332 a year, then apparently I need to examine my energy usage – I’m paying more than that in a two-person household with gas hot water and no air conditioning. I can only imagine what it’s going to cost once I get the meth lab hooked up!

If it helps, I’m paying a third of that for a two person household for electricity with gas hot water, heating and cooking. I’d guess it’s the heating in the winter months that costs a bit.

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5
Mysteryman 1:52 pm
20 Jun 11
#

How feasible would it be to install a load of solar panels and just have yourself disconnected from the grid? I supposed you’d need a method of storing electricity for days when the panels don’t generate as much electricity…. ?

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6
dpm 2:20 pm
20 Jun 11
#

Hahaha! We sound like characters out of a Tolstoy novel complaining about our situation and asking: “what’s to be done?”
Electricity, gas and water go up every year anyway. It’s kinda inevitable.
Same as health insurance. Should we blame solar panels for that too?

But what’s to be done? We can’t do anything about it when there’s no reason for increases, let alone if there is one.
For example, I remember about 10 years ago when gas prices went up, the ACTEWAGL rep said on the news, it was: ‘to keep ACT prices in line with what people pay in NSW’! So with logic like that, apparently any excuse is enough to put up prices. (OK, if they meant that they buy from NSW and their cost had gone up then fair enough, but if they just compared the consumer cost over the border and picked the most expensive one as their new price, then it’s a bit sad). I can imagine the next year NSW increased their prices to ‘keep in line’ with us, and so on…

Also, water prices got hiked up quite a lot during the ‘drought years’ (As ACTEWAGL wanted us to spare water, but they still needed the same revenue from that smaller volume sold). Did prices dramatically drop the minute dam volumes became safe, restrictions were eased, and we could once again use more water on gardens? Hahaha, unlikely! Anyway, that future-proofing $$$$ dam put paid to that!
Now that I think of it, everyone paying extra for that dam on their water bill is kinda like solar panel tariffs. I don’t use very much water anyway so I don’t need a new big dam (kinda like a ‘new big tax’), yet, i’m going to have to pay for some of this dam – I’m basically subsidising large water users so they can have a big dam to use! Arrrgh!

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7
Erg0 2:21 pm
20 Jun 11
#

puggy said :

Erg0 said :

If a typical household customer was paying $1332 a year, then apparently I need to examine my energy usage – I’m paying more than that in a two-person household with gas hot water and no air conditioning. I can only imagine what it’s going to cost once I get the meth lab hooked up!

If it helps, I’m paying a third of that for a two person household for electricity with gas hot water, heating and cooking. I’d guess it’s the heating in the winter months that costs a bit.

Forgot to mention, the heating runs on gas as well (you can tell because the gas bill quadruples over the winter months). Maybe I just have too many electronic devices (highly likely).

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8
Me no fry 2:39 pm
20 Jun 11
#

Quit whining. Any power price increase with only one digit to the left of the decimal point looks cheap to most of us in NSW. My increase (south coast, Country Energy) this year is over 18%.

I use less than half the electricity I used when living in Canberra – but the cost is the same.

Enjoy your cheap electricity while you can.

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9
qbngeek 3:03 pm
20 Jun 11
#

Mysteryman said :

How feasible would it be to install a load of solar panels and just have yourself disconnected from the grid? I supposed you’d need a method of storing electricity for days when the panels don’t generate as much electricity…. ?

It is feasible but you need to work out if it will suit you and how long it will take to recoup your money. We are planning to do it when we buy/renovate the house we are renting and we are looking at about $14k with a battery bank that ahould last 8 days with no charge going into it at all with our average usage. That price also includes a small diesel generator in case the worst happens and we need to charge the batteries without the solar. We spend about $2k a year on electricity atm so it will pay for itself in 7 years.

We will also have electric hot water as we will not be drawing from the grid. Our kitchen and heating will be gas to reduce the load. We will have air-con but it will be used sparingly as we have survived the last 10 years with just ceiling fans and the occasional tower fan.

In addition to this we will have 3 water tanks, two slimline ones beside the house and one under the front part of the house. These will be used for bathrooms, laundry and outside. The mains water will run to the kitchen and there will be an over-ride to use mains water for the whole house should the tanks run dry.

If people want to actually do something for the environment, they would consider these options instead of just going for the ones that give them a subsidy.

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10
Gungahlin Al 3:25 pm
20 Jun 11
#

johnboy said :

Gungahlin Al said :

And how much of this increase was due to the Solar Feed-in Tariff? Not even mentioned by them as a factor. Does this put the lie to the assumption that many people have been making then?

Yes Al, the magic money tree allows massive payments to the rich to come at no cost to anyone else.

Glad you’ve spotted that.

As Corbell’s media release states:
“It is important to also note that the ACT’s feed-in tariff scheme has not contributed at all to this price increase, and still remains less than 1% of the total average power bill.”

Massive payments eh? Our net cost was about $7500 onto our home loan, for an annual projected revenue of about $1500. Less finance costs of around $550pa, I think that’s a return (I’m not the accountant of the family) of some 12.6%. Better than a term deposit sure, but you couldn’t get a builder to turn up for less than 20%.

I don’t understand why people have a problem with the idea that others are putting these installations in for reasons fairly evenly balanced between financial and altruistic.

But come next summer when you all crank up your air con at once, all these solar systems will be cranking out power at their peak.

Perhaps read this interesting debate on Radio National:
http://www.abc.net.au/rn/rearvision/stories/2011/3225075.htm
A key quote:
“We use these enormous pieces of infrastructure for very short periods of time. Recently an analysis was done in Energex in South East Queensland, now that’s an $8-billion network roughly $900-million of that network is used for just 3-1/2 days per annum. $900-million going to service 3-1/2 days of electricity use and you could imagine the schools, roads, hospitals you could have built with that $900-million.”

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11
GregW 3:38 pm
20 Jun 11
#

Erg0 said :

If a typical household customer was paying $1332 a year, then apparently I need to examine my energy usage – I’m paying more than that in a two-person household with gas hot water and no air conditioning.!

Is that just for electricity or electricity + gas? Our electricity bills are about $700 pa with two-people in an ex-gov with off-peak electric hot water. We could do more to reduce electricity consumption but when it’s so cheap it’s hard to justify the effort.

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12
Holden Caulfield 3:47 pm
20 Jun 11
#

qbngeek said :

…In addition to this we will have 3 water tanks, two slimline ones beside the house and one under the front part of the house. These will be used for bathrooms, laundry and outside. The mains water will run to the kitchen and there will be an over-ride to use mains water for the whole house should the tanks run dry.

If people want to actually do something for the environment, they would consider these options instead of just going for the ones that give them a subsidy.

IIRC you can only use rainwater for toilets and washing machines (ie. you can’t plumb it to your showers or use it as drinking water).

However, if you do connect your tank to flush your dunnies you can get a subsidy.

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13
Reprobate 4:29 pm
20 Jun 11
#

JB, expect the ActewAGL Safety Gestapo to smash down the doors of your office when they see that you seem to have a powerboard plugged into another powerboard…

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14
monomania 5:12 pm
20 Jun 11
#

Gungahlin Al said :

johnboy said :

Gungahlin Al said :

And how much of this increase was due to the Solar Feed-in Tariff? Not even mentioned by them as a factor. Does this put the lie to the assumption that many people have been making then?

Yes Al, the magic money tree allows massive payments to the rich to come at no cost to anyone else.

Glad you’ve spotted that.

As Corbell’s media release states:
“It is important to also note that the ACT’s feed-in tariff scheme has not contributed at all to this price increase, and still remains less than 1% of the total average power bill.”

Massive payments eh? Our net cost was about $7500 onto our home loan, for an annual projected revenue of about $1500. Less finance costs of around $550pa, I think that’s a return (I’m not the accountant of the family) of some 12.6%. Better than a term deposit sure, but you couldn’t get a builder to turn up for less than 20%.

I don’t understand why people have a problem with the idea that others are putting these installations in for reasons fairly evenly balanced between financial and altruistic.

But come next summer when you all crank up your air con at once, all these solar systems will be cranking out power at their peak.

Perhaps read this interesting debate on Radio National:
http://www.abc.net.au/rn/rearvision/stories/2011/3225075.htm
A key quote:
“We use these enormous pieces of infrastructure for very short periods of time. Recently an analysis was done in Energex in South East Queensland, now that’s an $8-billion network roughly $900-million of that network is used for just 3-1/2 days per annum. $900-million going to service 3-1/2 days of electricity use and you could imagine the schools, roads, hospitals you could have built with that $900-million.”

Gunghalin Al has spun this yarn on other posts. One of the reasons the costs have gone up is because of the renewable energy scheme. Electricity producers were compelled to purchase credits produced by solar cells on the roof of Gunghalin Al and a lot of other peoples homes. Unless Gunghalin Al got in very early and got an $8000 grant from the Commonwealth Government to reduce his system’s cost to $7500, he like many others would also have got his system subsidised by between $4200 to $10000 dollars worth of Renewable Energy Credits various sized systems system generate, including 5 times the RECs for the first 1.5kW. It appears Gunghalin Al has a 2kW system paying him 50 cents per kilowatt hour. ActewAGL can place electricity in the grid for an average of 8 or 9 cents.

This is not the only spin Corbell, now with Gunghalin Al’s help, has put on the feed-in tariff scheme. The small scale part of the scheme has already been costed into our electricity prices, $50 million for the first 5 years.

I don’t care what motivated people to stick panels on their roofs, greed or green. The solar industry was sure advertising to the greed. The carbon abatement comes at too high a cost, and others, not those with panels on their rooves, are paying for it because of this decision. See the Productivity Commission report if you want some idea of the contribution to carbon abatement by feed-in tarrif schemes. Nothing.

GunghalinAl also believes that when we turn on our air conditioners on a hot day his solar cells make a significant contribution. Experts that Professor Garnaut consulted for his last report on renewable energy don’t believe that. The problem is that the peak period occurs after solar panels output peaks and when output has also been reduced by being at too high a temperature for best performance.

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15
arescarti42 5:21 pm
20 Jun 11
#

Mysteryman said :

How feasible would it be to install a load of solar panels and just have yourself disconnected from the grid? I supposed you’d need a method of storing electricity for days when the panels don’t generate as much electricity…. ?

It can be done, but you need an awful lot of batteries, which are generally very expensive and need to be replaced probably every 10 years or so.

I’m not sure why you’d want to do that if you have a grid connection, that sort of system is generally only used where a grid connection is not an option (i.e. due to isolation).

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