WA's electricity prices to rise while the rest of Australia enjoys savings
Western Australia, the Northern Territory and the ACT will continue to see electricity price increases while the rest of the country enjoys price reductions, with WA forecast to experience a 6.5 per cent jump in current energy bills.
In its latest electricity trends report, the Australia Energy Market Commission predicts prices across the country will rise sharply in the first quarter of 2018 before falling by 6.2 per cent each year on average over the next two years from July thanks to falling wholesale energy costs.
AEMC Chairman John Pierce said prices paid by WA consumers were set by the WA government, which subsidised electricity prices. Residential prices were now less than the cost of supply.
But he said an analysis of underlying drivers found there was likely to be an increase in wholesale costs, which made up around 40 per cent of a typical bill.
"Residential electricity prices in Western Australia are estimated to rise by 6.3 per cent on average for each of the next two years," Mr Pierce said.
"Underlying this is an estimated annual increase of 4.5 per cent in wholesale costs, driven by higher gas prices which increase the cost of operating gas-fired generators."
In 2016-17, a representative Western Australian family, using ing 5198 kWh per year paid a total annual bill of $1412 exclusive of GST. This was less than the total cost of supply of $1580.
WA Treasurer Ben Wyatt told Radio 6PR there was nothing new in the report released on Monday.
"There is nothing for people to be alarmed about," he said.
The east coast of the country had seen erratic movement in energy prices, Mr Wyatt said. This was not the case in WA.
Earlier in the year the WA State Government announced a raft of measures to help repair the state budget, with an increase of $169 to the fixed charge component of electricity bills, or 10.9 per cent for the representative household included.