South Australian Electricity Price Triple Threat

South Australia Electricity Price RiseBigStock

All three of South Australia’s major electricity retailers have announced significant increases to their pricing that will add up to hundreds of dollars onto annual power bills.

The first retailer to announce hikes last week was AGL, which will be upping prices by a whopping 10-12%; an average $230 a year.

AGL was followed by Origin Energy, which announced a 6.5 per cent price hike (average $117 a year).

Then on Friday, Energy Australia said it too would be increasing prices, with an impact on customer bills averaging  $260 a year.

The price rises will start to kick in from July 1.

Government advice of “shopping around” electricity retailers may seem to ring a little hollow if everyone is upping their prices.

However, while AGL, Origin and EnergyAustralia have captured around 80% of the South Australian market, the situation provides an opportunity for some of the smaller players to start yelling from the rooftops about their offers and perhaps grabbing a bigger slice of the pie.

The news comes as more Australians start seriously considering installing solar + storage.

The storage revolution is being made possible by the increasing availability of user-friendly battery solutions such as Tesla Powerwall, Sonnen’s sonnenBatterie Eco, Fronius Solar Battery and Enphase AC Battery.

Nationally, around 30,000  households are expected to have solar + battery systems by 2018.

Even without a storage option, solar makes good financial sense. According to Energy Matters, a 5.2kW solar power system installed in Adelaide can return a financial benefit of up to $2,282 annually, depending on installation and consumption scenario. In fact, solar can be a better investment than real estate or shares.

Approximately 28.8% of houses in South Australia have solar rooftops; the second highest level in Australia. SA used to lead the nation in this regard and may well do so again as South Australians rebel in the wake of this latest round of electricity price increases.

Another factor that may help boost solar uptake in SA (and elsewhere in the nation) in the short term is a looming and significant reduction in the Solar Credits subsidy; the major financial support mechanism for solar in Australia.