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Politics Random Ramblings

Seriously You Are Kidding Me?

Seriously this is just a desperate vote grab given that there's an election later on in the year.

THE State Government says power price hikes will be a thing of the past for 260,000 Tasmanian households and small businesses.

Deputy Premier Bryan Green said Aurora Energy's customer base would be sold off to competing retailers, in a move expected to put an end to bill increases.

Legislation will be tabled in Parliament next month to remove Aurora's monopoly, with the sale of its customer base starting mid-year.

The Energy Retailers Association of Australia said the move was a "win" for consumers.

Aurora's customer base will be sold in two tranches to two retailers.

Customers will automatically be rolled over to one of the two retailers, which will control the market for the first three months.

"We think that it's appropriate to give those retailers who are buying into Tasmania the opportunity to at least bed down their businesses," Mr Green said.

From then, the sector will open to full retail competition.

"It's really hard to say [how many retailers will target the state], but my expectation is that there will be many more retailers looking to get Tasmanian customers," Mr Green said.

The Tasmanian Economic Regulator will be given more powers to set the wholesale price of electricity to encourage retailers to enter the market.

"The government will establish the model to determine regulated prices for electricity generated by Hydro Tasmania for the first five years of competition, providing retailers with certainty on entering the Tasmania market," he said.

A fixed wholesale price and competition between retailers will help keep energy prices down.

AERA chief executive Cameron O'Reilly welcomed the move.

"Ultimately the customer will win," he said.

"These reforms should see more electricity retailers enter the Tasmanian market which will give households and business new products and more choice."

Mr Green said power prices should stagnate as a result, despite costly increases in other states.

He said power prices in Queensland and the Northern Territory had recently jumped 20-30 per cent.

"We believe that increases forecast will be below CPI, hopefully even negative going forward," he said.

Mr Green said the State Government would be looking for the highest bidder when selecting the first two energy retailers to enter the market.

"Treasury have been very cautious about providing the government with any real information about what we might get because I'm not quite sure that they're 100 per cent sure [what price it will fetch]," he said.

"There are figures around that you can sort of transpose to what an amount might be, but they haven't provided us with any conclusive advice."

Mr Green said the sale money would be used to finance energy reforms.

Sourced from The Mercury

So if Aurora's customer database is to be sold off where's the consultation with the customer and will there be an opt out should you not wish for your details to be sold. So watch this space as you can be assured that we (fellow Tasmanians) will simply be harassed by unsolicited door knocking or phone calls (right on dinner time!)

Or this could go the other way, no companies will bother because the venture won't have the profits to make it viable! Either way this is bound to be a classic government stuff up that in the end only the government wins.

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Liberals Question Carbon Tax

LIBERAL energy spokesman Matthew Groom has demanded to know why Tasmanians will pay carbon tax on the mostly carbon-free electricity generated in Tasmania.

It was confirmed last week that half of the 10.5 per cent increase in power prices about $125 a year for the average household is because of the carbon tax.

But Mr Groom pointed out that Tasmanians operate on more than 80 per cent renewable energy.

"The whole point of the carbon tax is to transition to renewable energy yet Tasmanians have already made and paid for that transition, with our energy companies still holding more than $2 billion of debt as a result," he said.

Government spokesman Matthew Sullivan explained that electricity producer Hydro would not be subject to the carbon tax, as its hydro-electric and wind power generation methods did not emit carbon.

But he said Aurora, which buys electricity from Hydro to sell to Tasmanian customers, would attract a share of the tax because it runs the gas-fired Tamar Valley Power Station, which does emit carbon.

Meanwhile, families with incomes of up to $150,000 a year will be better off under the carbon tax, according to Treasurer Wayne Swan.

A Treasury analysis reveals half of all families earning up to $150,000 will be over compensated for the carbon tax with tax cuts and welfare changes equivalent to 120 per cent of the expected cost.

Sourced from The Mercury

So just how short of a memory does the Liberal Party think we (the public) have forgotten the policy that the Liberals wanted to implement back in the late 90"s. Lets just recap, they wanted to fully privatise Aurora,Transend & Hydro hence the reason the original Hydro was split into three separate entities. Now they (Liberals) want us to believe that they really have our interest first and not just point scoring in the hopes of maybe winning the next (whenever it be) state election!

However why wasn't the questions raised before the regulator rubber stamped the approval would have been the better approach… 😐

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Yet Another Electricity Rise

ELECTRICITY prices will rise by 10.56 per cent from July 1, following a decision by the Tasmanian Economic Regulator.

The rise equates to about $232 on the average $2200 annual bill for each of Aurora Energy's residential customers.

Chairman of the Tasmanian Economic Regulator Glenn Appleyard said higher-than-forecast network charges, higher-than-forecast costs of complying with the Australian Government's renewable energy schemes and higher rates of inflation are the main reasons for the price increase being more than the 8.71 per cent increase forecast in 2010.

Rises were smaller than the 26 per cent which was anticipated earlier this year.

The carbon tax was estimated to have comprised 5.6 per cent of the rise.

In the Budget the State Government spent $37 million to restrict the previously anticipated rises by about $200 per household.

In May an Australian Energy Regulator determination restricted Aurora to an 11.5 per cent increase in revenue for 2012-17 period, which itself had the effect of cutting bills by$74 per household.

Sourced from The Mercury

So yet again Tasmanians get yet another cash grab from Aurora. However this time under the guise of Carbon Tax! So Energy Regular how can you justify such a move? and of course for the Tasmanian government do you even remember that election promise of capped electricity rise of no more than 5% 🙁

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Tasmania's Power Crisis Never Ends

A HYDRO Tasmania subsidiary, Momentum, is offering electricity to its interstate customers which was carbon tax-free and not available to Tasmanians, Budget Estimates hearings were told yesterday.

Opposition energy spokesman Matthew Groom said the offer to Momentum customers was not available to Tasmanians, despite the state's hydro- and wind-generated power being almost entirely carbon-free.

He said the Government was insisting on making Tasmanians pay the carbon tax.

Energy and Resources Minister Bryan Green Green said the $10 million profit generated by Momentum would be returned through higher dividends.

Sourced from The Mercury

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Tasmania's Power Crisis Never Ends

A HYDRO Tasmania subsidiary, Momentum, is offering electricity to its interstate customers which was carbon tax-free and not available to Tasmanians, Budget Estimates hearings were told yesterday.

Opposition energy spokesman Matthew Groom said the offer to Momentum customers was not available to Tasmanians, despite the state's hydro- and wind-generated power being almost entirely carbon-free.

He said the Government was insisting on making Tasmanians pay the carbon tax.

Energy and Resources Minister Bryan Green Green said the $10 million profit generated by Momentum would be returned through higher dividends.

Sourced from The Mercury

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Energy bill power cut (meaning rise)

THE average Tasmanian household will receive about $200 relief from the huge power price rises tipped to begin in July.

The welcome news was foreshadowed in the Sunday Tasmanian yesterday, and specific details were outlined by Premier Lara Giddings in Launceston yesterday.

Ms Giddings said forecast electricity price increases of up to 26 per cent in the next financial year were not acceptable.

This week, the Government will introduce legislation so households can avoid about half of the $400-plus increase feared.

"The State Government understood that the foreshadowed increase in the order of 23 to 26 per cent [from July 1] was a burden Tasmanian households could ill afford to bear, which is why we've taken action," Ms Giddings said.

She said the price increase would now be in the range of 11 to 12 per cent, and on top of that people would benefit from federal carbon tax compensation of about 5 per cent.

Tasmanian Council of Social Service president Noel Mundy said anything that would help people on low incomes was good news.

"The only issue obviously is [potentially] reducing the government spending on other services, but the bottom line is that we welcome the announcement," Mr Mundy said.

But Liberal energy spokesman Matthew Groom said the announcement was a power price rise statement in disguise.

"The decision to change the pricing has been forced on the Government because the expert panel has caught it out ripping off households and businesses," Mr Groom said.

"Even with the new arrangements, Tasmanians will be hit with an increase of up to 14 per cent on 1 July. This is nothing more than cynical gloss."

Mr Groom also said efficiencies to be secured from Aurora and Transend should have happened much earlier, showing a failure of government oversight.

Ms Giddings said the legislation would reduce the wholesale cost of energy, which would limit price increases.

"This will immediately wipe off 7 per cent of the price increase," she said.

Energy Minister Bryan Green said the cost to the state's energy businesses would be offset by future returns from the Federal Government's carbon pricing policy.

He said the July 1 forecast rise would be reduced by another 2 per cent after a decision by the Australian Energy Regulator to average out charges relating to expenditure on poles and wires assets into the next regulatory period.

Transend has also adjusted its revenue and cost forecasts, bringing another 3 per cent reduction in expected rises.

Ms Giddings said there would be a cost, which would be detailed tomorrow. Concessions also would be extended to many Tasmanians.

Ms Giddings hinted the carbon refund available to the state because of its reliance on renewable power would bring a much-needed boost that would be detailed in the State Budget on Thursday.

Sourced from The Mercury

Well here we are not even a year from the last price rise and surprise, surprise Aurora want yet another 26% Now with the spin of the Government they are claiming they have saved the Tasmanian people 15% saving! Hows that for telling you that you are better off, but hang on I'll be paying yet a further 11% on top of the existing over priced rate & standing charges. Where's the so called "Independent" regulator during all this?

Now with the introduction of the "Federal Carbon Tax" Tasmania is supposed to be better off due to our renewable hydro electric scheme. But for some reason Tasmanians will be slugged by Aurora a fee to cover carbon tax? (if you can make sense of that then you're doing better than me!)

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Politics Random Ramblings

Power Shock (No Shock)

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.

Article sourced from www.themercury.com.au

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