Electricity Retailer Plans To Slug Households Extra 10%

South Australia’s largest energy retailer plans to increase the average annual household electricity bill by an extra $150 due to “special circumstances”.

AGL Energy has made a submission (PDF) to the Essential Services Commission of SA (ESCOSA), applying for an increase in prices to cover the cost of Australia’s carbon tax, which will be introduced in July this year.

While many South Australian households will be recipients of a carbon tax assistance package from the Federal Government, the onus will be on recipients to salt away any benefits to go towards bigger electricity bills – plus other electricity price increases lurk backstage.

If granted, this increase will not be the end of electricity price hikes as the letter notes: “AGL understands that the Commission will be amending the Variation Price Determination made in June 2011 to allow for further increases in ETSA Utilities‟ network charges from 1 July 2012. This amendment for network charges will be additional to the cost allowance proposed in this letter.”

A report from the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) last year estimated residential electricity prices are to jump by 37 per cent in nominal terms on average across the nation by 2014. In South Australia; residential electricity prices are forecast to jump by 36 per cent in nominal terms; driven by demand, the state being a relatively small market and a continuing high dependence on gas-fired power generation

South Australian households considering installing solar panels to buffer against rising electricity prices may want to do so sooner than later. Not only does July 2012 herald the beginning of the carbon tax, but also a 33% reduction in Australia’s Solar Credits Scheme; a rebate that reduces the cost of solar power by thousands of dollars.

According to information on Energy Matters’ web site, even an entry level solar power system in Adelaide can generate savings of $568 a year.