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POWER prices in Tasmania are set to drop by 5.23 per cent next year — in line with retail contestability.

The drop could see the average Tasmanian household save about $140 a year.

The independent Tasmanian Economic Regulator yesterday approved a State Government proposal to see a drop in power prices for Tasmanian households from January 1.

Tasmanian Economic Regulator chairman Glenn Appleyard said yesterday new prices would represent a 5.23 per cent decrease.

Premier Lara Giddings said small businesses could save up to $650 a year on power prices.

“Electricity bills are a big contributor to cost-of-living pressures and I am sure it will come as a relief to families, pensioners and low-income earners to know that prices will fall from next year,” Ms Giddings said yesterday.

“This is all part of the work the State Government has been doing to tackle the rising cost of living. As a result of our energy reform we are confident the sort of power price increases we have seen in recent years will be a thing of the past, with prices set to remain flat or decrease for the foreseeable future.”

Opposition energy spokesman Matthew Groom said Ms Giddings was “seriously out of touch if she thinks power prices were something to gloat about”.

“Over the past seven years, power prices have increased by 65 per cent,” Mr Groom said. “In fact, the January 2014 decrease announced today is almost entirely cancelled out by the increase that was forced on Tasmanians just a few weeks ago on July 1.”

Energy minister Bryan Green said he was astounded the Liberal Party was ridiculing the Government for lowering power prices.

“We know the Liberals take any opportunity to celebrate bad news but now they are unashamedly putting a negative spin on good news,” Mr Green said.

Mr Green said the introduction of retail competition in Tasmania on January 1 next year would put further downward pressure on power prices.

The sale of Aurora Energy’s customer base was expected to be completed by the end of October in readiness for competition, Mr Green


Sourced from The Mercury

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