The average South Australian household will need to find an estimated extra $85 annually for electricity bills from July 1.
The Australian Energy Regulator (AER) announced on Tuesday that it had accepted the annual pricing proposal from SA Power Networks for 2014-15.
“Overall the increase in network costs will mean a rise in the average retail bill of about 4.4 per cent or $85 in the 2014-15 period,” said AER Chairman Andrew Reeves.
Nearly two-thirds of the extra charges relate to distribution – the “poles and wires” aspect.
In addition to suffering ongoing price rises in recent years, the announcement may further anger South Australians in light of recent reports SA Power Networks is raking in after-tax profits of $420 a year from each customer.
Increasingly, South Australians are turning to solar power systems to wrest back control over their electricity bills; with approximately 29% of eligible dwellings in the state now sporting solar panels.
According to national solar provider Energy Matters, a 3.5kW solar panel system installed in Adelaide can return electricity bill savings of up to $1,672 annually.
Energy Matters’ Australian Solar Index indicates solar power systems can be one of the best investments for South Australians; offering an estimated annual internal rate of return of 19.1% – better than shares or property.
In order to help more South Australians make the switch to solar, Energy Matters offers a zero-deposit Save As You Go monthly payment plan whereby repayments can be less than the amount that would have been spent on mains-grid supplied electricity for the same period.
“You always own the system and there is nothing to pay at the conclusion of your agreement. No balloons, no residual amounts, just your final monthly payment and the agreement is finalised,” the company states.