It was presented with little or no fanfare, and left with barely a squeak from the media. What was this fanfareless squeak you might ask? It was the report prepared by CME for the Energy Users Association of Australia, entitled; ‘Electricity Prices in Australia: A Comparison’ (March 2012). The document can be found at http://www.euaa.com.au/publications/papers/
And did this report further illuminate the issue of electricity costs in Australia you might ask? And the answer is; Yes it did! Broadly, here’s what it said (the figures are from the report):
Figure 1: ‘There’s a trend in there, and some greed as well (I suspect)’!
Apparently, while there is a belief that Australian electricity prices are low, average household electricity prices in Australia have increased by more than 40% since 2007.
Projections by the Australian energy Markets Commission (AEMC) indicate that prices will rise by a further 30% by 2013/14.
If the price trending of Japan, the European Union (EU), the United States of America (USA), Canada and Australian prices increase as indicated then average Australian household electricity prices will be 30% higher than Japan’s, 60% higher than the EU’s, 160% higher than in the US and 250% higher than Canada’s.
Figure 2 ‘Anything you can charge, the Aussie’s can do better’!
These increases along with exchange rate variations have Australia with average household electricity prices higher than those in Japan, the EU, the USA and Canada.
However, changes in the exchange rate have had a less significant impact on household electricity costs than the rising prices.
Fig 3: ‘Who wants to play ‘King of the Castle’?
There are only two countries who charge more for electricity than South Australia (SA), New South Wales (NSW), Victoria and Western Australia (WA) – Germany and Denmark. These Australian states are third, fourth, fifth and sixth in the top of the heap stakes. Some 85 countries, states or provinces charge less than these four states, and that includes Tasmania, Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory (ACT).
Tasmania comes in at 11th, Queensland 16th, the Northern Territory 21st and the ACT 29th out of of 91 countries, states and/or provinces.
Some 61 of the comparators in this study charge less for their electricity than does our lowest charger, the ACT.
Why is it that I get the very real feeling that Australians are being overcharged for their electricity? And, that the rot set in when Australia started flogging off the silver (well electricity generators and networks really) to private enterprise?
Here’s a few questions that I’d like to see satisfactorily answered.
How come I wasn’t asked about my belief on low electricity prices in Australia. I think they are usurious and a rort!
Why is it that in a country grossly obese with coal and gas reserves our electricity charges are so high?
Following on from that, why are our charges so high compared to the rest of the world? Especially those countries with a paucity of energy reserves?
Why are our electricity charges rising so fast in comparison to elsewhere? And why are they so grossly higher? 250% higher than Canada’s? Surely you jest?
Why are there charging disparities across the States (particularly the Eastern ones) when we are supposed to have an integrated system?
Why is it that the ACT, sited within NSW, has charges that are nearly 10 cents pkwhr less than those in NSW?
Why is it that the baby states (Tasmania, the Northern Territory and the ACT) are able to charge less than NSW, Victoria, SA and WA?
Why are Queensland rates less than those of the other Eastern States? And don’t tell me its because their electrons are warmer – I won’t believe you! Although, when you look at the NT charges there might be a case for that argument. Hmmm? Ahh! But not when you consider the ‘frosty’ ACT.
Is the market essentially a competitive one, like we are being told? Or is this just more ‘bumf’ to assuage the suckers (er, punters)?
Just how much are the respective government’s skimming off the top of these charges? I know that in NSW the government takes an equivalent to corporate tax by calling agencies a corporation, and then also takes ‘dividends’ as the ‘shareholder’. This can be hundreds of millions of dollars per utility. And how’s that for ‘double dipping’?
A couple of side question Oh NSW government! Aren’t the people of NSW the ‘shareholders’, and shouldn’t they be getting the benefits you take by a reduction in their charges rather than you taking it? As these are Government imposts could they be considered ‘dirty big taxes’? As a great majority of the NSW populace aren’t aware of these hidden money grabs, isn’t that a bit dishonest? If Governments didn’t take these imposts, might the services be able to use that money for infrastructure refurbishment rather than having to go to the market to borrow money for such undertakings? Wouldn’t that save a lot of money in interest payments and also mean lower charges? Just asking!
And finally. With such high charges for electricity, doesn’t that make us less competitive? Or is it that industry gets a better deal than the householder? Mmmm?
Do I feel that Im being overcharged for the electricity I use? Oh yes I do! Would I be a supporter of an independent review into electricity pricing and charges – Ohh yes I would!
Postscript: May I also respectfully suggest a title change for the EMC Report? Possibly; ‘Electricity Prices in Australia: An Embarrassment!’
And that’s my rant for today!
- Electricity prices boost SP Ausnet profit (news.smh.com.au)
- Australia’s Electricity Prices | The Case For Going Solar (freesolarfarms.com)
- Electricity bills to go up again – by 21 per cent in the city (wrc559.com)