The carbon tax repeal has saved Australians over $200 on their power bills, according to The St. Vincent de Paul July 2015 Tariff-Tracking Project Report.
Vinnies reported that from July 2014 to July 2015 tariff 11 homes saved around $375 (or 13 per cent), while tariff 12 homes saved around $270 (or 10 per cent). $230 of those figures can be attributed to the carbon tax repeal, with other factors accounting for the rest.
While things were looking up for electricity consumers with the abolition of the carbon tax, gas consumers did not fair so well. According to the report, gas prices rose by around $15 (or 2 per cent) in the South Brisbane, Gold Coast, Toowoomba and Oakey areas. While North Brisbane and Ipswich areas did see a drop of the same $15 (2 per cent), the gas prices still cancelled out any savings gained on power bills.
The report also found there was a major rise in the electricity supply charge. Tariff 11 homes saw a 40% increase of 36 cents a day over the last year, making the current supply charge 128 cents a day. At that rate households are paying $470 per annum for their fixed electricity charges.
Households in South Brisbane are also paying $415 per annum to remain connected to natural gas.
Vinnies’ social policy manager Gavin Dufty told The Brisbane Times that Gold Coast households are paying up to $900 a year. It’s the highest fixed charge in Queensland.
“What we see is that as consumers get more power concious, networks can’t guarantee income from the consumption side, so what they’ll do is start to creep up their fixed charges,” Mr Dufty said.
Vinnies found if households were to switch from regulated rates to the best market offers they would be $230 better off, but not without a catch. The households would have to ensure they don’t have any late bill payments.
Late bill payments incur a late fee and could see a household become $60 worse off than the regulated fee per annum. Vinnies is pushing for the government to ban late payment fees to protect less fortunate consumers.
“When they move to the National Energy Consumer Framework that means the national rules apply which allows late fee,” Mr Dufty said. “The energy market is complicated enough, this nickel and diming shouldn’t occur.”