ACT power bills set to rise as states enjoy falls

Ian Bushnell 27 December 2020 48
Rising network costs

Rising network costs will boost ACT bills. Photo: File.

Canberrans will buck a national trend and pay more for their household power over the next three years, according to the Australian Energy Market Commission.

AEMC says in its report on residential electricity price trends that annual bills in the ACT are expected to increase by 2.3 per cent or $45 over the whole reporting period to 2022-23.

It says that nationally, although Western Australia and the Northern Territory are not included, residential electricity prices and bills are expected to decrease until 2021-22, before rising in 2022-23, but overall prices will fall.

This is driven by the falling cost of wholesale electricity, due to increasing solar and wind generation and lower gas prices.

Environmental costs are also falling, driven by a decrease in Large-scale Renewable Energy Target (LRET) costs due to cheaper large-scale generation certificates (LGCs).

Across the NSW border, bills are expected to fall by $29 to 2022-23, driven by a greater take-up of solar rooftop panels, south-east Queensland by 14.2 per cent ($190) and 3.6 per cent (or $70) in Tasmania.

In Victoria, a surge in wind farm generation will see bills fall by 37.2 per cent or $197 over the three years, and in SA more solar PV is behind an expected decrease of 10.8 per cent (or $203) in bills.

While the ACT’s electricity is now sourced completely from renewable generators, rising network costs will increase bills by 14.6 per cent (or $78) over the next three years.

AEMC says this is being driven by an increase in distribution and transmission costs, partly due to previous under-recoveries and higher operating expenditure.

Wholesale costs are expected to go down by 13.4 per cent (or $108) and environmental costs by 8.1 per cent (or $26).

The residual cost component explains the remaining variations in the annual residential bill.

AEMC attributes the expected slight increase in prices and bills in 2022-23 to the closure of the Liddell power station.

Federal Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor said the Federal Government expected the electricity sector to deliver 1,000 megawatts of new dispatchable energy before Liddell closes in 2023.

He said the forecast lower prices come after government measures such as introducing a price cap to protect loyal customers from being ripped off, prioritising the delivery of reliable generation and transmission, getting rid of sneaky late payment penalties, and passing the ‘big stick’ legislation to hold the energy companies to account and require them to pass on cost reductions to their customers.

AEMC says that the pricing and billing outcomes do not constitute specific forecasts and that the results may not reflect what consumers actually pay.

”Actual price movements will be influenced by how retailers compete, the dynamics of the wholesale spot and contract markets, the outcome of network regulatory decisions, and changes in policy and legislation,” it says.

”However, the results do reflect movements in the underlying costs of service provision and are a guide to pricing and bill directions based on current expectations, policy and legislation.”

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48 Responses to ACT power bills set to rise as states enjoy falls
Capital Retro Capital Retro 8:56 pm 01 Jan 21

“Just put a set of p/v panels on the roof and your bill goes backwards.”

Not after the capital outlay and other factors are taken into account it doesn’t.

    JC JC 10:05 pm 01 Jan 21

    It does but of course the capital outlay needs to amortised over a number of years. Just like any capital cost.

Bill Gemmell Bill Gemmell 8:04 pm 01 Jan 21

An entirely optional impost. Just put a set of p/v panels on the roof and your bill goes backwards.

Capital Retro Capital Retro 5:30 pm 29 Dec 20

“Canberra has the lowest uptake and penetration of rooftop solar in the country ….”

That’s because it costs a hell of a lot more to buy and install it in Canberra.

HiddenDragon HiddenDragon 8:06 pm 27 Dec 20

The varying ownership structures of electricity generation and distribution assets across the States and Territories would make comparisons of profits, dividends etc. difficult – that’s presumably (one of the reasons, at least) why the AEMC report on prices does not look at that issue.

In the case of the ACT, ACTEW via Icon Water pays the ACT Government an annual dividend and interest on loans (or perhaps that should be “loans”).

The interest payments have been relatively steady in recent years, in spite of repeated and cumulatively substantial cuts in official interest rates, so unless there have been significant additional loans to Icon / ACTEW there may be some opportunistic interest charging going on – which would be passed on as a cost to Icon / ACTEW customers. [ACT Budget Paper 3 – section 6.2 refers]

Capital Retro Capital Retro 4:32 pm 27 Dec 20

“Mick Welsh 3:08 pm 27 Dec 20
Samuel Nicholls coal power is more expensive than wind and solar”

Please explain this claim given there a still a lot of consumers getting massive subsidies for exporting solar to the grid. Some of the subsidies are over twice what the grid is selling power back to the same people. I call it “solar sophistry”.

    Nudist Nudist 5:26 am 29 Dec 20

    Tell me more. I’m only getting eight cents a kilowatt hour export on my plan

    Capital Retro Capital Retro 7:46 am 29 Dec 20

    When solar exporting was introduced to home owners many took advantage of the subsidies available namely the RECS and long term (20 year) contracts of 0.49 cents a kilowatt hour.

    I looked at solar a few years ago and without at least 0.15 cents a kilowatt hour export it wasn’t economically viable, even with the RECS.

Peter Brady Peter Brady 12:34 pm 27 Dec 20

ALL of ACT residents voted for the renewable power, remember that. The Government said so. I would like to know where the night power comes from!

    Ashley Wright Ashley Wright 4:31 pm 28 Dec 20

    Peter Brady wind, hydro.

    Peter Brady Peter Brady 9:45 am 30 Dec 20

    Ashley Wright There is only so much hydro that is available and wind is not reliable. Haven't you wondered why there are no blackouts in Canberra. Power is taken from the grid, no matter where the power is generated. :(

    Ashley Wright Ashley Wright 12:42 pm 30 Dec 20

    Peter Brady I’m fully aware of how the grid works and what goes in to make it behalf I do know is there is a lot more renewable sources in there day and night than what the detractors let on.

Katy Did Katy Did 9:05 pm 26 Dec 20

Surely you didnt fall for that Shane😂

Daniel Weir Daniel Weir 8:08 pm 26 Dec 20

Always ask for a true bill not a statement 😆😆😆

Mat Barber Mat Barber 7:23 pm 26 Dec 20

Weren't they advertising prices dropping a few months back?

Capital Retro Capital Retro 5:49 pm 26 Dec 20

Virtue signaling costs!

Samuel Nicholls Samuel Nicholls 3:56 pm 26 Dec 20

Japan and China a building more coal fired power stations and we are shutting them all down go figure!

Good luck with that Australia! breaking the economy faster than speed of lightning.

    Mick Welsh Mick Welsh 3:08 pm 27 Dec 20

    Samuel Nicholls coal power is more expensive than wind and solar. With a liberal federal government who makes decisions based on $ do you really think they are going to invest in a more expensive option?

    David Jackson David Jackson 7:55 pm 27 Dec 20

    Mick Welsh at least coal works all the time. The claim that ACT is 100% renewable is a load of crap

Leigh Brady Leigh Brady 11:53 am 26 Dec 20

Haha - you know the article is pushing a dodgy agenda when they include only the change in prices and not comparison between states.

Vikas Sharma Vikas Sharma 11:03 am 26 Dec 20

Election promise was cheaper electricity. This is new year gift!

    Mal Briggs Mal Briggs 11:18 am 26 Dec 20

    Vikas Sharma the electricity is cheaper. The cost of the infrastructure to deliver it is more expensive, apparently because they didn't charge enough for that previously (or because a private company needs to find ways to increase profits with a falling power price)

    Vikas Sharma Vikas Sharma 11:20 am 26 Dec 20

    Mal Briggs I know but for a consumer, split cost of cheaper electricity and expensive transmission cost is one amount deducted from the bank account. So what is the point of one being cheaper if the other is costly. Bizzare

    Mal Briggs Mal Briggs 11:29 am 26 Dec 20

    Vikas Sharma because privately owned infrastructure wants to turn a profit. 🤷‍♂️

    Vikas Sharma Vikas Sharma 11:37 am 26 Dec 20

    Mal Briggs sure, improve infrastructure than penalise people and earn profits.

    Andrew Jack Andrew Jack 2:35 pm 28 Dec 20

    I believe the ACT taxpayers own evoenergy

    Mal Briggs Mal Briggs 3:52 pm 28 Dec 20

    Andrew Jack Evo energy is still a private company, ACT government is a shareholder as an investor, not as an "owner"

    Vikas Sharma Vikas Sharma 8:52 am 29 Dec 20

    Mal Briggs and its set to rise for 3 years because 4th is election year 😂🤣🤣🤣

Ben Jones Ben Jones 10:56 am 26 Dec 20

We might be bucking the national trend, but the local Trend is to see any price or government charges always increase....

Keran Niquet Keran Niquet 10:07 am 26 Dec 20

That comes from having Greens in the so called government!

    Julie Maynard Julie Maynard 11:06 am 26 Dec 20

    Jesse Mahoney they’ll blame the Greens for everything.

    Leigh Brady Leigh Brady 11:55 am 26 Dec 20

    Yeah Keran - we got our price drops years ago because we moved to renewables much sooner. So we’ve been reaping the benefits of those savings for years... rather than just getting them now like the other states.

    Don’t you think it was suspicious that the author only included the savings and didn’t once look at a comparison between states? That’s because we’re already on the low end.

    Stephen Page-Murray Stephen Page-Murray 1:28 pm 26 Dec 20

    Keran Niquet


Shane Jasprizza Shane Jasprizza 10:05 am 26 Dec 20

I thought we were told renewable is cheaper?

    Corey Karl Corey Karl 10:10 am 26 Dec 20

    Shane Jasprizza imagine how much it would cost if it wasn’t heavily subsidised

    Shmuli Levin Shmuli Levin 10:12 am 26 Dec 20

    That's correct. It's why prices are falling outside the ACT

    "It says that nationally, although Western Australia and the Northern Territory are not included, residential electricity prices and bills are expected to decrease until 2021-22, before rising in 2022-23, but overall prices will fall.

    This is driven by the falling cost of wholesale electricity, due to increasing solar and wind generation and lower gas prices."

    Tom Adam Tom Adam 10:26 am 26 Dec 20

    Shane, ironically the only place the electricity providers seem to make money is in connection charges. And the only way they can use that as an excuse is to upgrade lines more regularly than normal - so they can add a margin.

    It’s the old rolled-gold distribution network that is charged at a premium for cheaper electricity to flow through it.

    Tom Adam Tom Adam 10:33 am 26 Dec 20

    Jason, yep 100%

    Justin Watson Justin Watson 11:11 am 26 Dec 20

    ACT is already the cheapest in the country, and by some quick maths still is after we pay more and everyone pays less.

    Sean Lawson Sean Lawson 11:18 am 26 Dec 20

    Shane Jasprizza yep. That is seen in the wholesale and environmental charges being forecast to drop. They are, however, forecasting network costs to rise a bit here.

    Nell Feneck Nell Feneck 11:30 am 26 Dec 20

    Shane Jasprizza those that voted greens and labor have been scammed 🤦🏽‍♀️🤦🏽‍♀️🤣😂

    Leigh Brady Leigh Brady 11:52 am 26 Dec 20

    Shane - we moved to renewables much quicker than the other states - so we saw our prices drop in the past 5 years. This is just the other states catching up.

    It is cheaper - we can’t move to renewables a second time

    Brad Constance Brad Constance 4:43 pm 26 Dec 20

    Jason Butterfield Canberra is currently getting its major upgrade to the grid with Transgrid building a second 330kv substation west of Macgregor

    Brad Constance Brad Constance 4:48 pm 26 Dec 20

    Tom Adam call it gold plating or whatever you want, but to allow private rooftop solar connections, the network had to be upgraded from what it used to be. The networks of old were designed to deliver you electricity, not have it flow both ways. With increasing solar uptake, the issue will still be there. Powerlines, transformers and substations need to be upgraded to deal with more renewables. Who do you propose pays for it?

    Tom Adam Tom Adam 4:53 pm 26 Dec 20

    Brad, who pays for it? 🤔 We do - but at 9-11% margin over cost AND profit.

    You missed the report from privatisation a few years back and how the “unchanged” laws allow for us to be gouged.

    Not to mention the margin they charge you for using power when you can’t make it. Some people pay 30c pkwh and only get paid 15c feed in. So there isn’t any loss at their end

    Nigel Fullerton Nigel Fullerton 10:02 pm 27 Dec 20

    Nell Feneck actually read the article champ.

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