Households face $50 hike in annual power bills amid rising electricity transmission costs


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Network charges cover the transmission and distribution costs of delivering electricity to households and businesses.

Overall revenues for Victorian electricity distributors have fallen since 2016, with AusNet (7.04 per cent) and Powercor (3.79 per cent) the hardest hit.

Revenues for CitiPower (0.88 per cent) and United Energy (8.32 per cent) increased over the period.

The regulator said while most Victorians had been paying less for their electricity poles and wires over the past five years, the change would result in a “small” increase in network charges.

AER chair Clare Savage said the price rises should be seen in the context of its current regulatory determination which has delivered savings or stable prices for Victorians.

“Our first principle is that consumers should pay no more than necessary for safe and reliable energy,” Ms Savage said.

“Over the last five years, most Victorian consumers have paid less or around the same for the network of poles and wires delivering power to their houses and business,” Ms Savage said.

United Energy customers face the biggest price increases, with households facing an estimated $53 added to their annual bills while small business will be pay $212 more on average.

The Morrison government has been aggressive in its bid to drive down power prices since mid-2017. Energy bosses were warned late last year they needed to begin bringing down bills or face the prospect of more “aggressive” federal legislation around a mandated default market price.

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It remains on track to secure the passage of its big stick legislation in the Senate this week, which would enable the forced divestment of energy company assets.

Despite previous criticism, Labor will support the laws which gives the Federal Court the power to break-up an energy company on recommendation of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission for anti-market behaviour.

The laws will expire in 2025 and the powers will apply only to the conduct of energy companies in the wholesale market.

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