Power rides hit large families

The Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) has warned that large families will be hardest hit by the rise in electricity prices announced today.

The decision by the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) comes despite reforms which were promised to lower household bills. The decision also ignores the efforts of consumer groups to point to more cost effective measures for dealing with increased demand for power.

‘The Tribunal’s decision refers to an “average” price’ said Jim Wellsmore, Senior Policy Officer with PIAC. ‘But some consumers will see their prices rise more than 10% in the next year.

‘This increase goes beyond what is reasonable or necessary. It reflects bad policy and consumers will bear the brunt’.

Two key elements of the decision – electricity generation and spending on new infrastructure – have been criticised by PIAC.

‘There are more cost effective options than just building more poles and wires’ said Jim Wellsmore. ‘This is a missed opportunity and it means the price of electricity will continue to rise’.

PIAC also is critical of the Tribunal’s estimate of the future production costs of electricity generators. The Tribunal argues prices should rise now in preparation for new power stations.

PIAC is concerned about the effect of the increase on larger households, especially those with low-incomes.

‘Power companies are moving to introduce ‘block tariffs’ which mean higher prices as total consumption rises’ said Jim Wellsmore. ‘The only thing these new tariffs will do is penalise larger households. The industry and the Tribunal have ignored our evidence about the effect of these tariffs’.

MEDIA CONTACT: Dominic O’Grady, Media and Communications Officer,

Public Interest Advocacy Centre. Ph: 02 8898 6532 or 0400 110 169

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