From July, New South Wales residents and businesses will be paying more for electricity and gas.
The Independent Pricing & Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) has published proposed average prices that regulated electricity and gas retailers can charge NSW residential and small business customers from 1 July 2013.
IPART has allowed an average electricity price increase for 2013/14 of 3.0%, and an average gas price increase of 8.6%.
A price increase of 4.3% has been recommended for EnergyAustralia residential customers, which translates to an extra $83 per annum under an average electricity consumption profile.
For Origin Energy (Endeavour Energy) customers, a recommended 3.1% increase will mean an extra $57 a year. Origin Energy (Essential Energy) customers will feel less of a sting – around $11 per year.
Business customers will be hit harder in terms of average annual dollar increases.
In 2010/11, New South Wales residential electricity prices jumped 10% and in 2011/12, 17% more. Last July, regulated retail electricity prices increased an average of 11.8% to 20.6%.
While this round of increases will substantially less than previous price hikes, the extra costs may be the proverbial straw spurring on more households to make the switch to solar panels.
According to solar provider Energy Matters, a 5kW residential solar panel system installed in Sydney can provide a financial benefit exceeding $2,000 a year; assuming 100% consumption of produced electricity.
For businesses, commercial solar is also becoming increasingly attractive. Energy Matters recommends sizing a system to daytime consumption for the best returns and most rapid payback on investment – which can be as little as 5 years for a commercial scale system.
Submissions on IPART’s draft report are due on 20 May and its final determination will be released in June, for implementation on 1 July 2013.