Electric shock - Tamworth pays dearly for electricity

TAMWORTH residents not only pay some of the highest petrol prices around, it’s now claimed we pay some of the highest electricity prices in the country too.

According to the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal, Tamworth householders can pay up to nearly $850 more a year to turn on the lights than people in Sydney.

Based on an average family home with an offpeak hot water system using 20 kilowatts a day, the average annual bill for a Sydney household would be $2390 – compared to a $3231 bill for the same house in Tamworth.

Residents of Newcastle, Muswellbrook and Singleton all pay the same price as Sydneysiders – that is, the first 1000 kilowatt hours (kWh) are charged at 24.4c, the next 1000kWh at 25.5c and the balance at 34.3c/kWh. The controlled load, which is what offpeak hot water systems are on, is charged at 10.1c/kWh.

Left in the dark with Tamworth are residents of Dubbo, Bathurst, Wagga Wagga, Bega and Port Macquarie, who are charged a flat rate of 31.29c/kWh and a controlled load of 12.29c/kWh. A difference of six or seven cents per kilowatt hour may not sound like much, but it can cost an average household $800 more each year, even within the same energy suppliers. Wollongong and Nowra are even cheaper than Sydney, being charged at a rate of 24.25c for the first 1750kWh, with the balance charged at 27.11c/kWh and a controlled load of 8.47c/kWh.

As far as the country goes, NSW has the third highest average household bill  price of $561.72,  behind Tasmania and South Australia – and is the only state with unregulated prices.

The cheapest state is Queensland with a regulated price of 8c per kWh, and an average household bill of $438.83, followed closely by Western Australia with similar figures.

Australia’s best-known marriage celebrant and former Perfect Match TV host Greg Evans is hoping to spark a change in these statistics – and a zany protest campaign has been launched, he says, to throw some light on “the ridiculous” prices being charged for electricity. It is part of a wider promotion for solar panels.

They’re looking for the person most cheated by an electricity company.

“Energy bills seem designed to confuse. Sure they will tell you how much energy you have consumed compared to last year, but it is near impossible to compare what you have been charged over the same period,” Mr Evans said.

Energy Matters claims solar panel systems can lower energy costs to 7 cents per kilowatt hour compared to the average electricity company prices of between 18 cents and 45 cents per kilowatt hour in daytime hours.

Some energy prices in Australia and our region have risen by an astounding 91 per cent in five years, caused mainly by the NSW government privatising the retail electricity market, but not regulating prices.

Entries for Australia’s most cheated electricity user close on Monday.

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