Thursday, June 14, 2012

Electricity price hikes strike Astrolabe Rd

Today I received notice of planned increases to electricity prices that come into effect from 1 July 2012. The figures that follow are GST inclusive:

  • the quarterly supply charge will rise from $53.20 to $65.20
  • The quarterly peak rates on the first 1,750kWh will rise from $22.935 to $26.84
  • The quarterly peak rates on the balance of kWh will rise from $31.625 to $37.29.

These are large percentage increases. I haven't calculated the total dollar amount because I have yet to receive my first bill at my new house. 

According to the NSW regulator, just over half the price rise is due to the carbon tax, the other to upgrading poles and wires in NSW.

I checked the Commonwealth Government's compensation package. My particular personal circumstances mean the the only benefit I gain will come from the increase in the tax free threshold.

I am not complaining just at the moment. But you can see the problem the Australian Government faces in selling the whole thing. The costs are actually reasonably clear, the benefits less so. Further, the benefits will be quickly internalised, while the costs will continue in clear visibility.

I suspect that the Government was just too tricky in trying to go the way it did. Maybe better to have left the costs stand, and then introduce subsequent measures using the money. Just a thought.   


Rod said...

Another anecdote for you:

Our last power bill was $700 and the one before that was $850 (these are quarterly bills). The reason why we are so power hungry is that my daughter requires 24hrs a day oxygen via a concentrator, additionally she has complex regional pain syndrome and temperature regulation problems due to damage to her spinal cord and needs air conditioning to take the edge off the cold or hot.

We do get a life support discount on the bill of about $100. But do not qualify for any other discounts even though my daughter has a health care card (we would qualify if I had one... but I earn too much). I understand that there is not to be a 20% increase in the life support discount like the increase in power costs. I wish I could choose to reduce power consumption but that risks the life of my daughter! I'm quite annoyed about this. Such a big increase will be felt by my family even on my relatively good income.

Jim Belshaw said...

Rod, I am sorry for you and especially your daughter. However, it does illustrate my point about the impact of individual variation.

Anonymous said...

I guess we are presently being attacked on all fronts with these increases, but I think it's important also to keep in mind the dollar picture, as well as the dreaded percentages.

Like Jim, I am very sorry to read about your daughter's requirement Rod - but maybe instead of looking at the shock, horror, 20% increases, look at the annual cost. In your case make it $1000 per quarter which means the 20% increase amounts to $800 per year - a bit over $15 per week.

If you smoke that won't buy you a packet of cigarettes; if you don't then it's 4 or 5 coffees less, or maybe a vegetarian meal once a week instead of meat, or walking to the shops instead of driving. And if this sounds cold hearted just accept that your circumstances should certainly be accommodated; it's more the reality for the rest of us that I'm commenting upon.

And I wish you (and all of us) well.


Rod said...

Thanks Jim and KVD for your responses. KVD, you are completely correct. Where there is a limit to peoples income (such as our situation) we will have to change. Changing to cheaper products, reducing the amount of driving, etc means that there is room for my family to move financially. I think many other people will do exactly this. But, I do wonder about whether people who do not earn will be able to cope as easily, i.e. some people will already buy cheaper food etc.

Like Jim we are also moving. Our need is a house more suitable for someone with special needs but one of the houses we are interested in has a wood heater... we have many friends on properties that would be willing to help us with fire wood. And the good thing is that a wood heater will not contribute to Australias carbon dioxide emissions?!