On Friday, the Queensland Competition Authority (QCA) released its Final Determination on regulated retail electricity prices.
As a result of the Queensland Government freezing electricity rates on Tariff 11 at 2011-12 levels plus the carbon price, the Authority is implementing a three-year transitional path to rebalance fixed and variable components so each component is cost-reflective by 1 July 2015.
The transitional charges for 2013-14 will increase a typical customer’s annual bill from $1,184 to $1,451.
The major culprit is increased network costs – “poles and wires” – which are forecast to rise by 19% in 2013–14. The cost of buying electricity from the national market will also rise and 2013–14 will also see the first major increase in retail operating costs since 2009.
“The typical customer on the main regulated residential tariff (tariff 11) will see an increase of 22.6% in their annual bill. This may mean an increase of $268,” says a fact sheet from the QCA. Lower off-peak tariffs (tariffs 31 and 33) will also increase in 2013-14.
Business customers will also feel a sting, but not so pronounced as unlike residential customers, businesses did not benefit from the 2012–13 tariff freeze. Still, the increases will be significant – between 13.1% and 17.4%; depending on the applicable tariff.
Hundreds of thousands of Queensland households had made the switch to solar power systems prior to this announcement and no doubt many more will join the state’s solar revolution to rein in or wipe out their power bills.
According to national solar provider Energy Matters, a 4kW solar panel system the company currently has on special can reduce a Brisbane household’s power bills by up to nearly $2,000 a year. Energy Matters is now offering a zero deposit payment plan option to assist more Queensland households to install solar power systems.
For businesses, a commercial solar power system sized to daytime load will provide a payback time of between 5 and 7 years.