Electricity prices are set to rise by 10.9 per cent next financial year following a draft determination from the Independent Competition and Regulatory Commission.
ACT Energy Minister Shane Rattenbury said has attributed the majority of the proposed price jump to ongoing uncertainty around the Federal government’s energy policy.
“Investment in new energy projects has stalled, as industry awaits a clear plan for the future of energy in Australia, particularly on setting a price on carbon emissions,” Mr Rattenbury said.
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“The closure of the Hazlewood Power Station in Victoria, which has commenced shutting down operations this week, and Northern Power Station in South Australia, which closed last year, mean that we are more reliant on expensive gas generators which are being hit by higher fuel costs.”
The Minister said Territory residents would continue to have some of the lowest electricity prices in the country despite the expected price rise.
“The bulk of today’s proposed increase is outside the control of the ACT and similar price rises will be felt by most other Australian states,” Mr Rattenbury said.
“Canberrans will be paying an average of $800 less per year compared to our Queanbeyan neighbours.”
The ICRC draft determination did not include any increase in costs associated with the ACT’s renewable energy scheme as these costs were under review as part of the national framework for network price regulation.
Mr Rattenbury said the ACT Government would look closely at the draft determination with a view to keeping energy retailer claims in check.
“The ACT Government has just this year partnered with Energy Consumers Australia to appoint a new Energy Consumers advocate to represent ACT consumer interests in these regulatory processes,” he said.
He noted that the Energy Efficiency Improvement Scheme helped households and businesses to reduce their energy consumption.
The public can make submissions to the commission on their draft determination between now and April 28 (see www.icrc.act.gov.au or contact the commission on 6205 0799 or via firstname.lastname@example.org).
On Wednesday, 3 May 2017, the commission will hold a public hearing on the Draft Report – Standing Offer Prices for the Supply of Electricity to Small Customers from 1 July 2017 at the Waldorf on London, 2 Akuna Street, Canberra City from 3pm to 5pm. Anyone wishing to appear before the Commission at the hearing must notify the Commission before the event so that a suitable time can be allocated.
Will you be able to absorb the increase or is it time to look for ways to use less energy to keep costs down? We’d love to read your power-saving tips.
Pictured above are ACT Climate Change and Energy Minister Shane Rattenbury (right) with the ACT’s first energy consumer advocate, Eileen Newmarch, at the announcement of her appointment in January. Photo: Charlotte Harper