Move to emissions trading scheme could wipe $185 off annual power bills—but regulators must play a role

As delegates converge on Brisbane for the annual regulators conference, Consumer Action Law Centre has urged national and state energy regulators to ensure any move to an emission trading scheme results in lower power bills for Australians.

The average electricity price for the average household on the regulated household tariff in New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania and Queensland is 32 cents per kWh. The impact of $24 per tonne emission prices on wholesale electricity prices has been to rise then by about three cents per kWh. The Government expects that transitioning from a fixed emission prices to variable prices will reduce emission prices from around $25 per tonne to $6 per tonne, which could reduce household tariffs by around two cents per kWh from what they otherwise would have been. This translates into an annual reduction in bills—for the average household—of around $185 in 2014.[1]

The ACCC was tasked with ensuring companies didn’t misrepresent prices when the carbon tax was introduced. Now the regulators’ role should be to ensure business savings made by moving to an emissions trading scheme sooner than expected are passed on to households.

[1] $185 is an average figure. As household electricity prices are affected by many factors, some households will see no reduction while others will see reductions of more than $185.


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