NSW electricity prices to rise by up to 18.1% by July 2011–IPART

The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) has recommended that the price of electricity in NSW increase by between 16.4% and 18.1%. Changes will come into effect from 1 July, 2011.

This would mean that, on average, residential customers will be paying between about $230 and $315 in additional electricity costs per year, with average business customers paying between $325 and $528 more per year.

The increases are generally seen to be a result of rising network costs and the Federal government’s Renewable Energy Target (RET). IPART Chairman Rod Sims attributed 6% of the rises to the RET, 10% to network costs, and the rest to inflation. Chief executive of the Clean Energy Council, Matthew Warren, however, has recently offered the opinion that the rises are not attributable to the RET so much as the NSW feed-in tariff scheme, which he described in a media release as ‘over-ambitious’ and as having created a boom-bust cycle which has in turn created instability in the market for the emerging solar power industry.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, under the price change proposals, AusGrid (known until recently as Energy Australia) bills will rise 17.9%, Integral Energy by 16.4% and Country Energy by 18.1%. These are the maximum percent increases that power retailers will be allowed to implement.

Australia is home to some of the least expensive electricity in the industrialised world, as has been pointed out by, among others, Ross Garnaut, author of the Garnaut Review.

© 2010 Solar Choice Pty Ltd

Sources and Links:

Sydney Morning Herald, “Huge rises in electricity prices revealed”

Clean Energy Council, “IPART blame game hits wrong target”

James Martin II