Protect low-income earners from power price hikes

The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) has issued a draft decision advising that electricity consumers are likely to face price rises of between 16.4% and 18.1% on 1 July 2011.

IPART’s final decision on prices is expected in mid-June.

‘If IPART’s final decision is consistent with its draft decision, the highest price rises will again be felt by those in Country Energy’s supply area,’ said Carolyn Hodge (pictured), Senior Policy Officer, Energy + Water Consumers’ Advocacy Program.

‘PIAC is concerned for low-income and vulnerable electricity consumers who face difficulties staying connected to this essential service at current pricing levels.

‘In a submission to IPART, PIAC has recommended that more be done to understand rural and regional consumers so that targeted support can be delivered in these areas.

‘PIAC has also recommended that existing support for vulnerable consumers be expanded and strengthened,’ Ms Hodge said.

‘PIAC has recommended that IPART be resourced to investigate options to introduce a social tariff that would protect low-income and vulnerable consumers from sharp and regular price rises.’ 

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