Australians are facing yet another cost of living setback as thousands of households brace for a surge in their energy bills this winter.
From July 1 homes can expect to see their bills rise between 20 to 25 per cent, affecting 600,000 customers across NSW, South Australia, and southeast Queensland.
The Australian Energy Regulator (AER) confirmed the news on Thursday, May 15, stating the benchmark is meant to act as a cap on the highest price that retailers can charge customers in these three states.
About 9 per cent of customers are billed the default market rate, which acts as a safeguard to prevent residential customers from being charged too much for their electricity.
Residents in NSW can expect to see a price increase of $440 to $594 annually, while southeast Queensland may be paying an additional $402. Those in South Australia could see their prices increase to $511.
Earlier this year, the AER initially proposed a draft electricity price increase of 20 to 22 per cent. However, after stakeholder feedback, a “small change of between 1 per cent to 3 per cent” difference was implemented on the draft offer.
“The changes we have made are largely updates based on additional, finalised information and refinements to our methodology to better reflect the costs of retailing electricity,” the AER said.
AER’s Chair, Clare Savage, has argued that the price increase is “fairly close” to the initial offer and lower than they expected.
However, Deputy Opposition Leader Susan Ley has come out claiming that the price hike is a “huge mess”.
“I don’t see any real relief coming anytime soon. There is a huge stress on Australian households. There is a 29 per cent increase in households, and for some that is simply unaffordable,” Ley told Sunrise.
Meanwhile, Opposition Leader Peter Dutton is saying Prime Minister Anthony Albanese “lied” about lowering the energy prices.
“Let’s be very clear about it, he (Albanese) promised on 97 occasions your bill would go down by $275,” Dutton said.
“He promised it after Russia went into Ukraine. Forget about that … that sort of nonsense argument.
“I think the government’s completely underestimating how much families and small businesses are hurting at the moment.”
The rising cost of energy bills will no doubt be of concern among seniors as recent data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics has indicated that older Australians are already suffering the most from the rising cost of living, with pensioners experiencing an annual household living cost of 4.9 per cent.
In December 2022, the Federal Government committed $1.5 billion to offer temporary relief on power bills to eligible Australians.
The move was expected to save the average Australian household $230 a year, however, Australians are not expected to see the benefits to their bills “for some time”.
With the rising cost of living showing no signs of slowing down, there are certain things you can do to make your hard-earned money last longer.
One of the best ways is to understand and take advantage of the energy concessions you are entitled to.
To see the energy concessions that are available in other states and to learn more about the other discounts available in areas such as transportation and health, download the free Starts at 60 2023 Seniors Concessions Guide today.