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

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Politics Random Ramblings

Greed and spineless regulator…

Well it's now officially been passed by the government regulator for this to go ahead. Never has this regulator refused a request put before them, regulator or sock puppet?

POWER bills will rise by 11 per cent next month after the Tasmanian Economic Regulator yesterday signed off on a request from Aurora for the price jump.

Premier Lara Giddings acknowledged the rise would cause pain for many and she vowed to offer higher concessions in line with the price hike to the most disadvantaged Tasmanians.

She said she understood that many in the community would find the price rise a struggle and she would find money in the Budget for concessions.

"We will try to alleviate that struggle and pain for Tasmanians," Ms Giddings said.

"I do understand that this is not a good day."

The rise equates to a $28 increase a quarter for low-energy-use households, a $45 increase a quarter for medium users and a $70 a quarter increase for high energy users.

The 11 per cent rise is higher than the 8.5 per cent the Tasmanian Economic Regulator estimated when it made its prices forecast last year.

But regulator Glenn Appleyard said the extra 2.5 per cent reflected costs outside Aurora's control.

Aurora has said the rise is needed to pay for investment in transmission and distribution systems and extra costs arising from the Federal Government's Renewable Energy Target schemes.

Mr Appleyard said actual network charges accounted for about 2 per cent of the rise and the remainder was the purchase of Renewable Energy Certificates.

The rise, which comes into effect on July 1 for households and businesses, was blasted by the Tasmanian Liberals.

Opposition energy spokesman Matthew Groom said power prices were spiralling out of control and the latest rise would "push many Tasmanians over the edge".

"While the Green-Labor Government is sitting back doing nothing, the Tasmanian Liberals believe that the state needs competition in the energy sector to put downward pressure on power prices," Mr Groom said.

Ms Giddings said the Government would come to the aid of Aurora's 79,000 concession customers.

"What we are doing as a Government is trying to ensure we can support those people who are struggling to pay those bills," Ms Giddings said.

Article sourced from The Mercury Hobart