Australia’s Electricity Price Rise Delays Coming Home To Roost

On the weekend, Minister for Resources and Energy, Martin Ferguson, told a meeting of energy supply CEOs in Brisbane that Australia now needs to invest at least $100 billion in electricity infrastructure over the next decade just to meet growing demand and replace ageing infrastructure.
Minister Ferguson said electricity prices have risen by about 35 per cent over the last three years and the price rises have nothing to do with the CPRS, but the high capital cost of increased investment in electricity networks – investment that is critical to guarantee supply reliability.
“While there is room for increased energy efficiency at home and at work, no-one wants brown-outs or other restrictions on supply, such as those we have faced with water for many years.”
Minister Ferguson that State and Territory Governments have at times endeavoured to hold back necessary price increases and those decisions are now “coming home to roost.”
“Whilst the Australian Government is concerned about the impact of these price increases on families and businesses, in many cases they are now unavoidable if we are to guarantee supply reliability.”, said the Minister who also stated that a National Energy Customer Framework will improve protections for vulnerable customers.
In February, AGL announced Victorian customers will be slugged with a 35 per cent electricity price rise if they use power on weekdays instead of late at night or on weekends under new “time of use” tariffs to be introduced in May. Other retailers are reported to be considering implementing similar schemes.
In New South Wales, the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) last week confirmed a 46 – 64 percent increase in electricity prices foreshadowed in December for NSW electricity customers over the next three years.
Queensland electricity consumers can also expect substantial increases, with electricity price rises of 21 – 26 percent in store over the next 12 months.
While major electricity price rises are inevitable for most Australians, those households and businesses installing solar electricity systems will be less likely to feel the pinch and the increased electricity rates will also mean a faster return on their solar power investment. In many cases, owners of solar power systems will make money from their electricity production through various feed in tariff programs operating in most states.