The Australian Bureau of Statistics has released new data, which reveals a huge jump in taxpayer’s power bills over the past six years.
Despite the fact that Australians decreased their power consumption by 7 per cent between 2008 and 2014, power bills have increased by a whopping 61 per cent over that time. The data includes energy generated by home solar panels.
There have been a number of government initiatives over that time calling on taxpayers to reduce their energy usage and think harder about they use household appliances and electricity. And apparently, we have listened, with a huge portion of the population drastically slashing their energy consumption. So why aren’t we being rewarded for this?
Green Markets energy analyst Tristan Edis said power companies had been given too much free reign over the industry, upping prices and over-spending on unnecessary infrastructure, reports the ABC.
“Unfortunately we’ve got to do a much better effort of regulating the monopoly power companies have so we don’t end up paying more for our electricity than what we need to.
“The regulators took their eye off the ball starting in 2007 and let the electricity poles and wires companies — the electricity networks — go through a spending binge that turned out to be completely unnecessary,” Mr Edis said.
However, Mr Edis also, somewhat controversially, said the huge increase in electricity bills was not as big a thorn in the economy’s side as previously thought.
He claims the debate over energy costs was “overblown” and that there are more important issues to talk about.
“This was an overblown debate about the cost [of electricity] when in fact these are not the main drivers of cost in the economy,” he said.
“They are in fact a small proportion of industry costs and household costs.
“It’s been an absolute disgrace of our policy discussion that so much effort has gone into this issue when there are other things that are far more important.”
His words have been met with criticism by some who point out that a 61 per cent increase is actually an important issue for many people. Many Australians, especially those living on a pension or government supplement, struggle to meet the rising cost of living and would no doubt welcome a drop in energy prices.