The West Australian, 22 August 2017
The average family will be slugged an extra $438 a year to meet the expenses.
The State Government is set to oversee the second highest electricity charges in the country after warnings its sharp increase in power access fees were hurting struggling families.
The West Australian can reveal that the national regulator of prices believes WA charges will be second only to SA, which is undertaking a big increase in power supply construction.
While the Federal Government has focused its attention on power prices across the Eastern States, prices in WA have also been pushed up since the end of the carbon tax, lifting by almost 10 per cent. And they are forecast to continue climbing.
According to the Australian Energy Market Commission, which has tracked prices across the country, WA will have the second highest price per kilowatt hour in the country by 2018-19. At more than 30 cents per kilowatt hour, only SA will have a higher price rate.
The SA price is expected to fall over the next 18 months.
The national regulator of prices believes WA charges will be second only to SA.
AEMC has warned that even with higher prices, the Perth retail price was still short of the actual cost of supplying power across the city.
“The retail price paid by consumers does not necessarily reflect underlying costs of supplying electricity, nor follow cost trends, because prices are set by the WA Government,” it said. Earlier this year, the State Government increased the electricity access charge by $169.
Energy Minister Ben Wyatt said yesterday that the State Government had yet to make a decision on future electricity prices, adding it would be part of the general consideration of the Budget.
He said he was trying to strike a balance between reducing pressure on the Budget and not hurting consumers.
Another issue is the Tariff Equalisation Contribution under which South West consumers subsidy Horizon Power customers. It costs South West power users $76 a year.
“Given the horrific state of the finances the subsidy is not sustainable,” Mr Wyatt said.
Western Australian Council of Social Service chief executive Louise Giolitto said there were already signs the $169 increase in the South West electricity access charge was hurting struggling families.
Not only were electricity prices on the rise but all utility costs were putting pressure on consumers.
“I think from WACOSS view we see ourselves as the ambulance at the base of the cliff and more and more people are being pushed to the edge with power and water prices a big issue,” Ms Giolitto said.
Anglicare WA chief executive Ian Carter said in Perth’s northern suburbs, 30 per cent of people looking for assistance had struggled to pay a utility bill in the past six months.