Regional households will be hardest hit by power hikes

The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal of NSW (IPART) has confirmed today that electricity bills will increase by up to 64% over the next three years.The increase comes on top of a 20% hike in power costs in July last year. Regional households will be hardest hit, with average households in the Country Energy distribution area expected to pay an extra $955 per year.

The Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) is concerned about the impact of these increases on households that are already struggling to pay their bills, especially with looming interest rate rises and rent increases.

‘Thousands of households across New South Wales are already struggling to pay utility bills following a 20% increase in electricity tariffs in 2009,’ said PIAC Policy Officer Joel Pringle.

PIAC welcomes measures announced today by the Minister for Energy, John Robertson, to assist households most affected by these increases.

These measures include expansion of the Energy Rebate program to all Commonwealth Health Care Card Holders, and indexing the rebate so that it moves in line with the energy price index.

The proposed Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS) is estimated to account for around 25% of the increase in power costs. The CPRS, if introduced, will compensate low- and middle-income households. However, these households will still be exposed to the remaining increase in power costs.

 ‘Households on low incomes are particularly vulnerable to price increases. Until now, many of these households have not had access to the Energy Rebate.

‘The Minister’s decision will go a long way in assisting these households,’ Mr Pringle said.

For further comment: Joel Pringle, Policy Officer,
Public Interest Advocacy Centre. Ph: 02 8898 6520 or mobile 0406 435 290

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