Households on the east coast will face electricity bill increases of up to 25 per cent from July 1, adding to growing cost-of-living pressures on Australian consumers.
Australia’s energy regulator on Thursday locked in this year’s increase in default offers — the ceiling on prices retailers can charge customers who don’t accept special deals — raising the limit to $349 in Queensland and $439 in South Australia, and Up to $435 in NSW.
This means that from July 1, households will face a standard electricity price increase of 20.8% to 23.9%, depending on the region. Small business customers faced bill increases ranging from 14.7 percent to 28.9 percent, depending on the region.
In Victoria, the state’s Essential Services Commission has set its own default offer, which will see prices rise by 25 per cent, or $352 a year.
This year’s change in default quotes reflects a sharp spike in wholesale prices — the price retailers pay for electricity before it sells it to customers — as a result of last year’s failure of a large number of coal-fired power stations that reduced supply and the war in Ukraine that drove up the cost of electricity generation. Coal and natural gas required.
The default market price increase will directly affect hundreds of thousands of households, but will also serve as a point of reference for retailers such as AGL, Origin and EnergyAustralia as they assess the next price increase for their wider customer base.
Australian Energy Regulator chair Clare Savage said households and small businesses struggling with bills should contact their electricity retailers as soon as possible, as they were required by law to help.
“No one wants to see prices go up and we recognize these are difficult times,” Savage said. “That’s why it’s important for consumers to shop around for a better deal.”