An increase in electricity prices in the ACT is likely to result after a draft determination from the Independent Competition and Regulatory Commission (ICRC).
These prices are likely to increase by 10.9 per cent from 1 July 2017.
“Despite the proposed increase, the ACT will continue to have some of the lowest electricity prices in the country. The bulk of today’s proposed increase is outside the control of the ACT and similar price rises will be felt by most other Australian states,” said Minister Shane Rattenbury.
“Almost all of today’s proposed electricity price increase can be attributed to the ongoing uncertainty around the Federal Government’s energy policy.
“Investment in new energy projects has stalled, as industry awaits a clear plan for the future of energy in Australia, particularly on setting a price on carbon emissions.”
Mr Rattenbury said the closure of the Hazlewood Power Station in Victoria, which commenced shutting down in late March 2017, and the Northern Power Station in South Australia – which closed in 2016 – mean that people are more reliant on expensive gas generators which are being hit by higher fuel costs.
“Thankfully, renewable energy generation is immune to fossil fuel price hikes and is keeping downward pressure on wholesale electricity costs.
“We know that Australia’s energy future is in renewables, and that’s why the ACT Government continues to invest in renewable energy generation and storage.
“In addition, our Energy Efficiency Improvement Scheme is also assisting households and businesses in reducing energy consumption, which flows through to lower electricity bills helping to offset price rises,” said Mr Rattenbury.
The ICRC notes that its draft determination does not include any increase in costs associated with the ACT’s renewable energy scheme as these costs are under review as part of the national framework for network price regulation.
“Despite the proposed increase, Canberrans will be paying an average of $800 less per year compared to our Queanbeyan neighbours,” said Mr Rattenbury.
“The ACT Government will now look closely at this draft determination with a view to keeping energy retailer claims in check.
“The ACT Government has just this year partnered with Energy Consumers Australia to appoint a new Energy Consumers advocate to represent ACT consumer interests in these regulatory processes.”
Public submissions to the ICRC on the draft determination close 28 April 2017.