VICTORIA faces higher electricity price rises than New South Wales and South Australia, despite the state being touted as the world’s most competitive retail market.
And the average householder is being slugged almost $250 a year to cover the cost of environmental policies.
Federal and state “green schemes” such as the carbon tax, renewable energy and energy efficiency targets and solar subsidies now account for about one-fifth of Victorians’ electricity bills.
An Australian Energy Market Commission report reveals residential “market offer” power prices are expected to climb an average 4.3 per cent a year between now and 2014-15 before dropping an average 4.9 per cent in 2015-16.
The AEMC mainly blames previously approved electricity distribution charges for the delay in cost relief in Victoria.
The state’s overall price trend, averaged across the three years, is for prices to rise less than inflation at 1.3 per cent annually.
In NSW and SA, prices are expected to decline an average 0.7 and 0.9 per cent.
Energy Minister Nicholas Kotsiras said the typical $1285 annual bill for Victorian families was still less than the $1810 in NSW and South Australia’s $1564.
Consumers who shopped around could save significantly.
The report says retailers have different wholesale energy purchase costs depending on contracts with suppliers.
It also notes Victoria’s retailers have additional costs due to the smart meter rollout and higher customer switching rates.
The AEMC report is based on current policies, which means it doesn’t include the effect of removing the carbon tax.
It does, however, factor in moving to a floating carbon price.