16% electricity price rise expected across NSW from July 2012 with solar panel prices dropping.

In line with the national trend, retail electricity prices are set to jump an average of 16% across NSW from 1 July 2012 (after a 18.2% increase last year), according to a draft determination released by the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART), the government body which regulates power rates. Rate increases were deemed necessary to cover the costs associated with network infrastructure (“poles and wires”) upgrades and the implementation of the impending Carbon Price, which is set to come into effect from 1 July 2012.

NSW electricity prices rise…

IPART’s draft determination report proposes the average prices that the regulated electricity retailers–EnergyAustralia, Integral Energy, and Country Energy–can charge their customers. Average price increases will vary for customers depending on their retailer (as detailed below). 9% of cost increases will be due to the Carbon Price, and another 9 percent come from the combined costs of infrastructure, billing, metering, and marketing electricity.

  • 19.2% for EnergyAustralia customers, which translates to an extra $6.50 per week ($338 per annum) on an average residential customer bill and $8.44 per week ($439 per annum) on average for its small business customers
  • 10.3% for Integral Energy customers, which translates to an extra $3.51 per week ($182 per annum) on an average residential customer bill and $4.55 per week ($237 per annum) on average for its small business customers, and
  • 17.6% for Country Energy customers, which translates to an extra $7.32 per week ($381 per annum) on an average residential customer bill and $9.51 per week ($494 per annum) on average for its small business customers.

Retail electricity customers can submit comments on IPART’s draft decision by 10 May 2012. Additionally, IPART will hold a public hearing on the topic on 30 April 2012.

Read the IPART media release: Electricity prices to rise in NSW, due to higher network costs and the introduction of the carbon price (pdf).

…while solar PV system prices remain at all-time lows

Meanwhile, the cost of installing a solar PV system continues to fall, giving homes and business an increasingly affordable way to insulate themselves against rising electricity costs. Grid-connected solar PV systems are proven to be an excellent way to save money on electricity bills, with returns on investment (ROI) as high as 10%–possibly more, depending on how a household or business monitors and times the usage of its electricity.

Since the withdrawal of the state’s Solar Bonus Feed-in Tariff scheme, solar systems are a particularly attractive option for NSW homes or businesses that consume the bulk of their electricity while the sun is shining. However, certain NSW retailers do offer Solar Buyback programs, for solar-powered customers who export electricity back to the grid. Customers are encouraged to find the best Solar Buyback rates by using the state government’s online electricity retailer comparison tool: mysolaroffers.nsw.gov.au.

Solar Choice, Australia’s Free Solar Energy Installation Brokers and Quote Comparison Service, provides customers with free, instant, and customised Solar Quote Comparisons for anywhere in Australia. Contact us today to find the best deals on solar power in your part of NSW.

© 2012 Solar Choice Pty Ltd 

James Martin II

Contributor at Solar Choice
James was Solar Choice's primary writer & researcher between 2010 and 2018.

He is now the communications manager for energy technology startup SwitchDin, but remains an occasional contributor to the Solar Choice blog.

James lives in Newcastle in a house with a weird solar system.
James Martin II