Carbon tax crunch: NSW power price warning

Both sides of politics are expecting a significant power price rise from the IPART today. They disagree on the cause. (Gary Rivett: ABC News)

The New South Wales Government is predicting households will soon be paying an extra $300 a year for electricity, but the Federal Government has rejected suggestions its carbon tax is to blame.

The state’s Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal’s (IPART) draft recommendations for electricity prices are due out today.

State Energy Minister Chris Hartcher is anticipating a sharp increase in power prices.

He says the carbon tax and green schemes such as the Renewable Energy Target scheme are the main reasons for the price spike.

“Unless the carbon tax and the green schemes are scrapped, it’s estimated that the average household in New South Wales will pay an additional $300 a year or more,” Mr Hartcher said.

“Now power bills have been rising sharply over recent times and an increase of this magnitude, over $300 a year, is going to hit families hard, is going to hit businesses hard.

“Don’t go ahead with the carbon tax, or if you have to go ahead with the carbon tax, despite every indication that you shouldn’t, at least scrap these green schemes, which are unaffordable.”

Federal Climate Change Minister Greg Combet has rejected Mr Hartcher’s criticism.

“When you look at what’s been driving electricity price increases in New South Wales in recent years, and what we’d expect from IPART today, the overwhelming contributing factors are state factors,” he said.

“Things such as the investment in the poles and wires or the solar panel rooftop programs that have been run out of New South Wales. That’s what’s been fundamentally driving electricity price rises.”

Mr Combet says households will be compensated for any power price rise associated with the carbon tax.

“Any electricity price rise that IPART indicates today that is attributable to the carbon price coming in is met by the Federal Government paying tax cuts to families, increasing family tax benefits for families with kids, an increase in the single pension, an increase in the pension for couples, payments for self funded retirees,” Mr Combet said.

Author: Mark Tobin – NSW political reporter
Source: Australian Broadcasting Corporation



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