Electricity prices are set to rise by almost $400 a year for some householders as of July 1.
The spike coincides with the introduction of the federal government’s controversial carbon tax as well as rising network costs (the costs of using the transmission and distribution networks to transport electricity to customers’ premises).
The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) recently determined the percentages with which prices would increase and the news is not good for small business owners and residents.
Essential Energy, formerly Country Energy, will increase rates substantially, with a maximum increase of 17.6 per cent in some cases. Essential Energy is the main electricity company that operates within the Yass Valley.
In recognition of the rise, IPART CEO Dr Peter Boxall claims they are doing everything they can to keep electricity prices affordable.
“IPART has outlined a number of recommendations aimed at improving the future affordability of electricity,” he told the Tribune.
“There are aspects of the National Electricity Rules and the National Electricity Law that could be changed to reduce pressure on prices. We’ve also outlined some areas around reliability standards, green schemes, and subsidies that could be reviewed.”
Essential Energy also claim to be doing what they can but that in many ways it is out of their hands.
“Essential Energy is an electricity network services business only, we are not an energy retailer,” said Essential Energy’s south eastern general manager Phillip Green.
He also said that these prices were subject to change and were not set in stone.
“These increases are only indicative at this stage.
“The actual price changes to apply from July have not yet been determined.”
Jan Werner, who has lived in Yass for more than a year, believes the inevitable rise is completely unfair and she is now being forced to contemplate the installation of solar power to her home.
Jan, who works in Sydney but stays in Yass for most of the week, said she has missed the boat in terms of getting financial help for solar and will have to do it the hard way.
“The issue is, will installing these panels actually save us money in the long run?
“They are about $10,000 to install and we need to figure out whether we will pay that much in electricity without them over the next 20 years, which is how long they are meant to last.
“It is hard to know but with prices expected to increase even more it is probably something we must do, we have no choice.”
Mrs Werner also holds grave concerns for the well being of residents under these new prices.
“It’ll be hardest for those who rent, who don’t have the option to put solar panels on the house they live in.”
Her view that the rise is unfair will undoubtedly be supported by many around Yass but, as of July 1, there will be little choice but to pay the higher costs.