The likely doubling is because households will pick up the tab for government green programs – meaning average electricity users face finding an extra $320 to $440. It comes on top of a warning from pricing regulator IPART, which had told consumers to expect July 1 jumps of only 10-13 per cent – to pay for network upgrades, which critics argue are not needed.
What officials have not admitted is that on top of this, electricity retailers are going to impose an increase of about 4 per cent to recover the cost of meeting obligations under the Federal Government’s renewable energy targets. AGL has already done so and others will follow.
The green-scheme cuts announced by Prime Minister Julia Gillard last week will not reduce this burden.
Now families face a further price rise of up to 10 per cent to cover the cost of the State Government’s mismanagement of its solar incentive program. Based on standard consumption of 7000 kilowatt hours (kwh), for a family in western Sydney, Wollongong or the Southern Highlands – where power is distributed by Integral Energy – these rises combine to add 24 per cent or $320 to an annual bill.
In the eastern half of Sydney, Gosford and the Hunter, where electricity comes from EnergyAustralia, the jump will be 27 per cent, increasing the standard bill by $370.
In the rest of the state – serviced ultimately by Country Energy – the surge is also likely to be 27 per cent, but the bill blow will be a heftier $440 because Country’s prices are already higher. And this is without an emissions trading scheme, which could add another 20-25 per cent to bills.
The 10 per cent slug The Daily Telegraph reveals today emerges in a report the State Government commissioned into its Solar Bonus Scheme, which began last January.
According to the report, by mid next year electricity distributors will have had to pay $405 million to about 140,000 solar households for energy generated under the generous scheme.
Consultancy AECOM said Integral, Country and EnergyAustralia paid about $9 million in the first half of 2010 and are likely to pay $150 million this financial year, plus $246 million in 2011-12.
The distributors – all owned by the State Government – can begin to recoup this from July by raising the electricity prices to NSW’s 2.7 million households.
The three are expected to lodge price-increase applications with the ACCC-run Australian Energy Regulator by May. None would discuss their plans with The Daily Telegraph.