Well this comes as no surprise! It was only a matter of time before the “Carbon Tax” is the excuse to jack up prices (again). Only nine months ago they got their way with an 11% rise last June. So at what point will it be cheaper to go and loiter in a shopping mall just to stay warm during winter? 🙁
TASMANIAN power bills are set to rise by an average of 26 per cent or $650 a year from July because of the carbon tax and other hikes being considered by energy regulators.
Industry sources believed the carbon tax would contribute about $140 of the total rise to the average mum’s and dad’s bill, which last year came in at $2450.
In 2010, an initial 8.7 per cent rise for the period from July 1, 2012, was approved.
But the Office of the Tasmanian Energy Regulator is now considering a raft of price rises, including whether it will pass through the carbon tax to Tasmanian residential customers. And it is expected that transmission companies will seek approval from the Australian Energy Regulator to hike prices to make up for a revenue shortfall arising from the national phenomenon of lower electricity usage last year.
Struggling Tasmanian consumers have already endured power price rises of 23 per cent in the past two years.
The retail price hikes increase pressure on the State Government to share around Hydro Tasmania’s expected $100-150 million windfall from the carbon tax.
The state Liberals yesterday challenged Energy Minister Bryan Green to adopt Liberal policy and refrain from passing on the carbon tax to households and small business.
“Tasmania already operates on more than 80 per cent renewable energy, and it is outrageous and unfair that Tasmanians are being made to pay a carbon tax when their electricity is effectively carbon free,” spokesman Matthew Groom said. “We are already seeing the unthinkable, with some Tasmanian households having to choose between turning on a heater or putting food on the table.”
In Parliament, Mr Green did not deny Mr Groom’s assertion that increases of more than 20 per cent would occur on July 1.
Mr Green said the Government would look to put downward pressure on prices after examining the Electricity Industry Expert Panel report to be tabled in Parliament today.
Electricity price rises have also become political poison for the Federal Government since the Queensland election. The Federal Government reportedly fears that the electricity price rises will all be blamed on the carbon tax.
Also yesterday, a report by Sydney-based consultancy Intelligent Energy Systems predicted the carbon tax would contribute to significant increases in Tasmanian wholesale electricity prices.
Report author Stephen Weston said the carbon tax and the resulting retirement of coal-powered stations in Victoria would mean that gas became the primary fuel for energy generation.
In turn the increasing export of liquefied natural gas would mean domestic gas prices would become more and more linked to international energy prices.
“This is expected to drive the cost of gas for electricity generation higher,” he said.
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