Slap in the Face!

TASMANIANS will pay about $20 more for their power for at least the next six months.

A 1.8 per cent increase in electricity bills for the last half of 2013 was yesterday approved by the Tasmanian Economic Regulator, adding about $20 to the average $2300 annual bill.

The rise comes a fortnight after Premier Lara Giddings flagged power price cuts of 1-2 per cent under retail competition next year.

“We believe that we should be able to see energy prices come down in this state by at least 1 per cent,” Ms Giddings said.

The regulator’s approval of the latest increase in Aurora Energy’s electricity charges comes as the Government moves to sell Aurora’s customer base and introduce full retail competition.

Prices have more than doubled since 2000.

The latest increase applies to all residential customers and some small businesses.

Regulator chairman Glen Appleyard said the rise was to cover movements in the consumer price index.

“Renewable energy costs were higher than expected due to increases in the number of certificates the Clean Energy Regulator required retailers to purchase or create,” he said.

He said the determination allowed the price regulations to continue until new arrangements were introduced.

Mr Appleyard said that ordinarily the regulator would have been required to set prices for a 12-month period but in this case it is just for the six months.

“After that date, all residential and some small business customers will have the option of entering into a market contract with one of the retailers who are successful in purchasing Aurora’s retail customers,” he said.

Mr Appleyard said that under the reforms the regulator would determine standing offer prices that apply from January 1 next year.

Sourced from The Mercury

Well this has to be a last ditch cash grab before opening up retail competition right? I mean it was only last week we were being told that power costs were to be going down! This is a confusing message to the people, You can’t say here it’s going to be cheaper but then slug an increase within a week. I’d say the CEO of Aurora must be due a new flash high market sports car for sucking what money there is left in Aurora before the customer base is sold off to whoever buys it.

This is a slap in the face yet AGAIN! 😐

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Election Teaser

POWER prices in Tasmania are set to fall for the first time in a decade with a government submission to the Economic Regulator calling for a cut.

Electricity consumers can expect a “modest decrease” in energy costs if the submission is successful.

The development comes in the wake of steep power hikes during recent years that have left Tasmanians fuming.

Eighty eight per cent of respondents to the Mercury’s Great Tasmanian Survey said the cost of power in the state was too high.

Under power market reforms, the state’s main power company Aurora Energy will cease to exist next January 1.

Premier Lara Giddings said further price decreases might come from retail price competition that starts on that date.

“The Government believes the recent electricity price rises experienced in Tasmania will soon be a thing of the past,” Ms Giddings said.

“If the Government’s submission is adopted, Tasmanian households and businesses could see prices fall on 1 January, 2014, and remain relatively flat in the foreseeable future.

“This is due to the introduction of wholesale regulation, coupled with the fact that major investment in transmission and distribution infrastructure will not be needed in the foreseeable future.”

Existing electricity concessions will be enshrined in legislation, ensuring they will continue in a competitive retail market.

The regulator will make a final determination by July 31 to enable the Government to conduct the sale process for Aurora’s customer base in the second half of this year.

“We are delivering some of the biggest changes we have seen to our electricity industry,” Energy and Resources Minister Bryan Green said.

“It’s all about delivering real and lasting benefits to households and businesses,” Mr Green said.

The Great Tasmanian Survey reveals strong feeling among Mercury readers about electricity.

Almost 75 per cent of respondents declared the state’s power should be exempt from the carbon tax, with 81 per cent saying there should be more competition.

But there was little support for privatisation, with 69 per cent of those polled disagreeing with selling the state’s power companies.

Sourced from The Mercury

So later on this year Tasmanians will head to the polling booths and decide on the future of the current sitting members of parliament. As is the usual practice of attempting to butter up the people in a last ditch attempt to win over the voters so that they can remain. I’m not so convinced that this is the right move, yes I’ve posted many a time my disapproval over the current government and the current high consumer costs of electricity. But this just doesn’t seem to wash down well. The main concern is that half of Aurora’s customer base is to be sold off as a way of kick starting consumer freedom of choice (as yet no confirmed companies known to openly and willing to set up shop) to choose a power provider(s) in a bid to gain cheaper pricing.

Although I’ve said in previous posts how Tasmania needs an open market, this was not the way I figured that the government would go about implementing the change. I’m not sure what will happen once we’ve been “sold off” if we are going to be rewarded with lower prices than what is currently available, although the government assumes that it will. To me this has been done without any thought for the consumer beyond the first day of implementation. So only time will tell… 😐