The South Australian Government will consult the Essential Services Commission of South Australia (ESCOSA) about the fairness of recent electricity prices from major retailers.
SA Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis asked ESCOSA Acting Chair Dr Lynne Williams to assess the recent electricity price rises announced by AGL, Origin Energy and Energy Australia, which will result in significant increases to households and small businesses, effective from July 2016.
The average increase in the 2016/17 financial year for a customer consuming 5MW/h will be $228 for AGL customers, $117 for Origin Energy customers and $261 for Energy Australia customers.
The retailers cited the cost and availability of coal and gas supply for electricity generation as well as the changing mix of energy generation as reasons for the increases, which are as high as 13 per cent.
ESCOSA’s Act provides significant information gathering powers to the regulator that can assist in establishing the factual basis for the recent electricity price increases.
Mr Koutsantonis said the electricity price increases from AGL, Origin and Energy Australia added significantly to cost of living pressures on affected customers.
“While they follow news of decreases to water and gas bills, the electricity price hike also affects South Australian businesses looking to keep costs down and stay competitive,” Mr Koutsantonis said.
“In light of the community concern over the price increases it is important that customers are presented with independent advice on whether or not the reasons given for them are justified.
“ESCOSA is perfectly positioned to provide that advice and inform consumers’ decisions about whether or not they stay with their energy retailer.”