BY July 1 Canberra electricity prices will increase by 18.95 per cent according to the Independent Competition and Regulatory Commission (ICRC).
The ICRC made the announcement today (June 8), which Chief Minister Andrew Barr has since labelled a “disappointing outcome for the ACT”.
Mr Barr and Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability Shane Rattenbury attribute these increases to the failure of the National Electricity Market, the closure of the coal fired plant at Hazelwood and a failure of national leadership.
The continual ideological debate at the national level has led to a sustained period of inaction over the very real issue of sustainable and affordable energy prices in this country.
Mr Barr and Mr Rattenbury say that the ACT government has done what it can to make the right investments in sustainable renewable energy – locking in 20 year fixed price contracts as we move towards 100 per cent renewable energy powering the territory by 2020. As a result, Canberra households will be shielded from future wholesale price rises.
In its report, the ICRC estimates the costs for wholesale electricity for ACT and NSW retailers will increase by 50 per cent from 2016-17 to 2017-18, accounting for 13.26 per cent of the total 18.95 per cent increase, or more than two-thirds.
The ACT government will provide matched funding of $250,000 to an Energy Support Fund established by ActewAGL for customers that may face significant hardship from these new electricity prices.
The $500,000 Fund will be used for energy vouchers distributed through community groups to families struggling with their energy bills and a solar grants program for eligible community organisations.
ActewAGL will also establish a dedicated Bill Help Hotline to provide all customers with information on rebates and concessions.