Energy price hike to hit from 1 July

Richard Whitten 29 June 2017 NEWS

Sunset behind transformers

The big energy retailers are upping energy prices in NSW, QLD, SA and the ACT. Here’s how rate rises will affect you.

AGL, Origin and EnergyAustralia have all confirmed serious price increases from 1 July. Energy consumers in NSW, Queensland, South Australia and the ACT can expect energy bills to rise by anywhere between 5% and 19%. This translates to at least an extra several hundred dollars per year for the average household.

  • An increase of $6.50 per week for one household energy bill equals almost $340 a year.

Price rises by state

Prices for both and electricity and gas will rise. Here are the price rise estimates for each state (keep in mind that the exact price for you will depend on your energy provider, plan, usage and location):

  • NSW will see electricity prices rise between 15% and 19%.
  • The ACT will see price hikes of up to 18%.
  • SA will see an increase of anywhere between 15% and 19%.
  • QLD prices will rise by up to 7% or more.
  • Residents of Tasmania and Victoria won't be affected by July's price increases. These states will get new prices in January 2018.

Why are energy prices rising?

Part of the explanation is supply and demand in the gas market. Australia is exporting more and more gas, causing a supply shortage and price increases for us. Since gas is used in electricity generation, this impacts electricity prices too.

The cost of generating wholesale electricity is also to blame. This is affected by global energy prices and the cost of maintaining and upgrading generators and distribution networks. Some of Australia’s ageing generators are shutting down, adding to the strain and limiting supply.

The problem is also political, with deep divisions between recent governments at the state and federal level. The lack of a clear, national energy policy only exacerbates the existing problems.

The recent Finkel Review has suggested a path towards more stable prices and a clearer energy plan. But whether or not the review’s suggestions will become policy depends entirely on Canberra.

What can I do to keep my energy bills under control?

There’s a chance that the price rises might not affect your bill. Customers on EnergyAustralia’s Rate Fix plan are unaffected, for example.

But if you’re living in the affected states, there’s a high chance that you will be paying more come 1 July. And while you might be signed up to a cheap power plan with a smaller retailer, they will inevitably pass on the higher wholesale costs to their customers too.

This doesn't mean that shopping around won't save you money. Comparing energy plans in a competitive market is always a good idea. Even with price hikes, many energy providers will offer discounts to new customers or energy plans tailored towards specific types of energy usage.

Regardless of your energy plan, your best bet is to try to cut down on how much gas and electricity you use. There are many ways to do this and you can start with our helpful, comprehensive guide on saving energy.

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