Canberra Faces Biggest Electricity Price Hike in Five Years

Canberra residents have been told to prepare for a 17 per cent increase in the electricity price, due to the upcoming price on carbon. It is unclear whether state and territory subsidies will compensate for this dramatic rise.

This rise comes at a time when most Canberrans rely on electricity for warmth from the winter chill. It is the largest hike in the past five years and is expected to cost households about $5 more per week.

According to The Architect, the Independent Competition and Regulatory Commission, 13 per cent of the 17 per cent increase is due to the price on carbon. Despite the extra $244 per annum increase, utilities bills remain the lowest in the country. Other states and territories are expected to be hit even harder.

There is speculation as to whether the planned government compensation schemes will actually help those in need, or just shave the top off the bills. Act Cost has said the Commission should have waited until later this year to implement the increase.

But every cloud has a silver lining. By 2015, a new system will be in place, with a $15 floor price in a free market for pollution permits. This is predicted to lead to price decreases.

Consultation on the draft price closes next month, with the final decision expected in June. The price will come into effect on the 1 July 2012.

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