Electricity prices going around in circles

It’s no secret that electricity prices have been soaring in the last few years, but one secret that many don’t know about is that 1 in 8 of us cannot afford to pay our electricity bills.

A survey of households in Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland by Ernst & Young also found that 1 in 10 are missing three or more bill payments in the last year. This goes to show that we are not being relieved of the rising cost electricity…it is the opposite. Electricity is vital to our everyday lives, yet it is clear that some are even foregoing one of our most basic needs, simply because they cannot afford it.

ABC revealed that some bills have gone up by $1,000 or more a year since 2009, an enormous amount to factor into our spendings. This survey just goes to show that we are getting more and more stressed about not being about the foot the bill when it arrives.

So when can we get the reduction in our bills? Some electricity companies have begun sending out letters that state that the carbon tax repeal will now reduce our bills. According to energy provider AGL’s website, these are the savings we can expect:

[AGL] estimate that the average AGL residential and small business gas and electricity customers will see the following approximate savings off their bills from 1 July 2014 to 30 June 2015. However your individual impact will vary depending on your specific circumstances and energy usage.
Residential electricity customers – 8.2%
Residential gas customers – 3.2%
Small business electricity customers – 8.7%
Small business gas customers – 6.2%

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New South Wales
Residential electricity customers – 7.8%
Residential gas customers – 4.5%
Small business electricity customers – 7.5%
Small business gas customers – 7.4%

Residential electricity customers – 8.9%
Residential gas customers – 7.2%
Small business electricity customers – 9.7%
Small business gas customers – 10.3%

South Australia
Residential electricity customers – 5.2%
Residential gas customers – 4.6%
Small business electricity customers – 5.2%
Small business gas customers – 7.1%
Also, where AGL (and other energy companies) have already billed you on the higher rates after 1 July 2014, they will recalculate your charges once the new energy rates have taken effect in their billing system and apply a credit on your next bill.

Another solution has been offered in way of a bribe from Campbell Newman for Queensland voters – he has promised he will further reduce the price of electricity by at least $100 a year if he is re-elected, under the $3.4 billion Strong Choice Cost of Living Fund. After a controversial run as Premier, many think it is poor form to make promises that he may not fulfil… as Queenslanders have already seen. Opposition leader Annatacia Palaszczuk said it was a blatant vote grab and that it is a promise that cannot and will not be trusted by the people of Queensland.

Elsewhere, Victorian Premier Denis Napthine was last month actively blocking energy companies Powercor and AusNet Services from passing on an infrastructure cost of $14 million onto customers. He said it was a travesty and Victorians should not have to be taxed. NSW Premier Mike Baird said that electricity prices will drop after privatisation, whereas WA’s prices will continue to rise with the mining boom drop-off.

It looks like it will be up to individual governments to make the call on whether they want to reduce consumer bills…but should it really be something we need to vote in to get done? We are crying out for assistance….so where are our governments?

What do you think our governments should do to reduce power bills? Would you vote in someone based on their promises to shave off living costs? Are you struggling to pay your bill? Tell us below.