Up, up, up go the power prices

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.


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33 Responses to Up, up, up go the power prices
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qbngeek qbngeek 4:46 pm 21 Jun 11

colourful sydney racing identity said :

Mysteryman said :

Interesting. When I asked the question originally I wasn’t really concerned about the environmental impact.

There’s a surprise.

Nothing wrong with that. I awas initially also not hugely concerned about how good it is for the environment and it is more to allow us to become self sufficient and so that in 15 years time I can look at the people with massive power bills and laugh.

On the idea of the damage done by the batteries and solar panels, it is debatable whether this is worse than coal power generation. Let’s just say it is much cleaner than the manufacturing of a Toyota Prius and all the greenies love those. They do a lot more damage than an economical diesel of the equivalent size and the Prius’ fuel consumption in the real world is pretty average (I had one for work and it was slow, felt badly built and used more fuel than expected)

colourful sydney racing identity colourful sydney racing identity 4:21 pm 21 Jun 11

Mysteryman said :

Interesting. When I asked the question originally I wasn’t really concerned about the environmental impact.

There’s a surprise.

Mysteryman Mysteryman 3:03 pm 21 Jun 11

Gungahlin Al said :

qbngeek said :

And on the cost of batteries. We will have a 5000amp/hr battery bank which is going to be $6k of the cost of the system. We went that big because we run gaming consoles and desktops however we switch everything off at the wall if it is not in use. The batteries have a 10 year warranty as long as we get them serviced once a year. The price of a service is locked in for the 10 years at $190 a service.

If you went with GEL or AGM batteries (which I have in the camper trailer) the battery costs start to skyrocket. However they are sealed batteries and are spill proof. They can even be mounted sideways or upside down which is why we used them in the camper.

There really is little point is going off the grid in a suburban situation – some could argue that it is actually increasing your environmental impact.

If you have PV or other generation capability, there is the disjunct between when you need power and when you are generating it. so you need batteries. Batteries have a large embedded impact. Then there is around 30% loss of generation getting energy stored in them and another 30% loss getting the energy back out. With or without a FIT, you are doing a better thing environmentally by pumping it into the grid.

Interesting. When I asked the question originally I wasn’t really concerned about the environmental impact.

54-11 54-11 2:49 pm 21 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!

I think you need to separate out the actual cost of electricity from the total power bill. Our bills of around $1300pa for usage has about 35% additional “supply charges”, which makes a very big difference.

Thoroughly Smashed Thoroughly Smashed 11:48 am 21 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!

I suppose you should be thankful that you didn’t decide to start growing hydro.

Mysteryman Mysteryman 10:28 am 21 Jun 11

arescarti42 said :

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).

I’d want to be off the grid so that I don’t have to pay companies to provide me with something that I can get myself.

Gungahlin Al Gungahlin Al 10:20 am 21 Jun 11

qbngeek said :

And on the cost of batteries. We will have a 5000amp/hr battery bank which is going to be $6k of the cost of the system. We went that big because we run gaming consoles and desktops however we switch everything off at the wall if it is not in use. The batteries have a 10 year warranty as long as we get them serviced once a year. The price of a service is locked in for the 10 years at $190 a service.

If you went with GEL or AGM batteries (which I have in the camper trailer) the battery costs start to skyrocket. However they are sealed batteries and are spill proof. They can even be mounted sideways or upside down which is why we used them in the camper.

There really is little point is going off the grid in a suburban situation – some could argue that it is actually increasing your environmental impact.

If you have PV or other generation capability, there is the disjunct between when you need power and when you are generating it. so you need batteries. Batteries have a large embedded impact. Then there is around 30% loss of generation getting energy stored in them and another 30% loss getting the energy back out. With or without a FIT, you are doing a better thing environmentally by pumping it into the grid.

dungfungus dungfungus 9:21 am 21 Jun 11

The cost of the “renewables subsidy” is yet to be applied. Also, I am sure ActewAGL will find some other lost cause to waste our money on like TransACT II or sponsoring an A League soccer team.

qbngeek qbngeek 8:58 am 21 Jun 11

eily said :

Holden Caulfield said :

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.

But there is a catch. If you connect a tank to a toilet you still have to connect to the mains water in case the tank runs dry. And because you’re connected to mains you have to follow water restrictions (when in force) even with the water out of the tank. So you can’t use that water to water the garden.
Rather defeats the main reason many people get a tank.

I will have to check on this one. We were given advice that we could do it, we are also in NSW so it might be different. I don’t see why you would need to, my dad lives on a farm with just tank water and they manage. Why should we be different?

And on the cost of batteries. We will have a 5000amp/hr battery bank which is going to be $6k of the cost of the system. We went that big because we run gaming consoles and desktops however we switch everything off at the wall if it is not in use. The batteries have a 10 year warranty as long as we get them serviced once a year. The price of a service is locked in for the 10 years at $190 a service.

If you went with GEL or AGM batteries (which I have in the camper trailer) the battery costs start to skyrocket. However they are sealed batteries and are spill proof. They can even be mounted sideways or upside down which is why we used them in the camper.

Chop71 Chop71 9:56 pm 20 Jun 11

I actually think this is ACTEWs way of softening us up for the massive increase in water prices that are coming. Go easy on electricity (for now) and wham

Gungahlin Al Gungahlin Al 9:27 pm 20 Jun 11

Interesting complaint by the regulator about energy companies in other states “gold plating” their charges:
http://www.petermartin.com.au/2011/06/you-rigged-da-what-why-electricity.html

Gungahlin Al Gungahlin Al 9:24 pm 20 Jun 11

eily said :

Holden Caulfield said :

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.

But there is a catch. If you connect a tank to a toilet you still have to connect to the mains water in case the tank runs dry. And because you’re connected to mains you have to follow water restrictions (when in force) even with the water out of the tank. So you can’t use that water to water the garden.
Rather defeats the main reason many people get a tank.

Yeah I don’t think you are right there. You are required to have a water switch to kick over to town water if the tank runs out but it is not correct to say water restrictions apply to your tank water. The switch alerts you when it charges and at that point you modify your usage to fit the restrictions.

I had an ACTEW staffer reported me for watering in new plants when establishing the garden. They came took a sample of the water out of the taps and found it wasnt town water. End of complaint.

astrojax astrojax 9:10 pm 20 Jun 11

what we need to do is harvest the excess mice in the plague-hit northern nsw region and have them run in wheels hooked up to the actew grid and sit back and sip mojitos…

vauxhall vauxhall 8:16 pm 20 Jun 11

matt31221 said :

Reprobate said :

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…

Not ActewAGL or ACTPLA – ACT Workcover is what you were thinking of.

The Solar scheme has increased bills a bit but the main reason, the one that should be most obvious to all – PRIVATISATION!!! When you privatize your electricity facilities the prices skyrocket, because they are now run by Companies with shareholders – the aim of a company – to make monetary profit! Our bills aren’t as high as NSW yet because ActewAGL is only 49% private owned. Also when %100 private, electricity company assets aren’t maintained as well as government owned. Look at the 1998 Auckland power crisis. – “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1998_Auckland_power_crisis”

Say yes to water and electricity staying in government hands – the peoples hands.

Huh? The massive increases forecast in last year’s IPART determinations for NSW were well before privatisation of NSW energy assets, and the networks (which most of the increases can be attributed to) remain publicly owned to this day.

matt31221 matt31221 6:59 pm 20 Jun 11

Reprobate said :

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…

Not ActewAGL or ACTPLA – ACT Workcover is what you were thinking of.

The Solar scheme has increased bills a bit but the main reason, the one that should be most obvious to all – PRIVATISATION!!! When you privatize your electricity facilities the prices skyrocket, because they are now run by Companies with shareholders – the aim of a company – to make monetary profit! Our bills aren’t as high as NSW yet because ActewAGL is only 49% private owned. Also when %100 private, electricity company assets aren’t maintained as well as government owned. Look at the 1998 Auckland power crisis. – “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1998_Auckland_power_crisis”

Say yes to water and electricity staying in government hands – the peoples hands.

Postalgeek Postalgeek 6:11 pm 20 Jun 11

eily said :

Holden Caulfield said :

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.

But there is a catch. If you connect a tank to a toilet you still have to connect to the mains water in case the tank runs dry. And because you’re connected to mains you have to follow water restrictions (when in force) even with the water out of the tank. So you can’t use that water to water the garden.
Rather defeats the main reason many people get a tank.

But that wouldn’t prevent you using water in other the tanks to water the garden, just the tank connected to the toilet, I assume.

hoody hoody 5:48 pm 20 Jun 11

I’ve thought about solar, batteries and 12 volt appliances for the house too. I spend a week or so a year on a sailboat and you learn to manage your energy budget closely. I think with 2kw of panels, another 1kw of wind turbine and 1000 amp/hr of battery capacity you could do it and you would definitely need that backup genny. But can anyone tell us – can you actually disconnect from the grid in suburbia? I think you might have problems with your fixed phone, NBN or other broadband. Your laptop has a much smaller consumption than a full featured desktop (but high end gaming is out) For hot water you could run solar with gas. I reckon I would be comfortable with spending the money purely for the satisfaction of no longer being beholden to ACTEW for electricity. Of course as pointed out earlier, you have maintenance/replacement of your batteries and my neighbours might not like the sound of (even a small) wind generator because the small ones do make a bit of noise. I keep thinking about it…..

eily eily 5:22 pm 20 Jun 11

Holden Caulfield said :

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.

But there is a catch. If you connect a tank to a toilet you still have to connect to the mains water in case the tank runs dry. And because you’re connected to mains you have to follow water restrictions (when in force) even with the water out of the tank. So you can’t use that water to water the garden.
Rather defeats the main reason many people get a tank.

arescarti42 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).

monomania 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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