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.
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… 😐