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Power price shock hits households  

Credit:  Karen Collier consumer reporter, Herald Sun, www.heraldsun.com.au 21 October 2010 ~~

Electricity bills have shot past $3200 a year for some Victorians amid soaring prices and blowouts in energy use.

And annual costs could hit a shocking $10,000 for big households in five years if a carbon tax is introduced, an analyst warns.

Exclusive research on the state’s residential power bills reveals the biggest are in Guys Hill on Melbourne’s eastern outskirts, Mickleham, Curlewis, southeast of Geelong, and Merricks North on the Mornington Peninsula.

Areas with the lowest median bills include Flemington, Golden Beach in Gippsland, Jacana in Melbourne’s north and Carlton.

The cost of bills are influenced by price, location, how large and energy-efficient homes are, how often people are at home and whether there is electric or gas heating and hot water.

Melbourne’s coldest winter in more than a decade, combined with price rises of up to 20 per cent this year, has left many households reeling from bill shock.

Ben Freund, of price comparator GoSwitch, warned surging coal costs, government targets for more expensive wind, solar and other renewable energy, network upgrades to cope with extra demand and the drain of airconditioners would have a dramatic affect on people’s hip pockets in coming years.

The impact could even influence real estate prices and the cost of refrigerated groceries.

“Even without a carbon tax, we are predicting bills will double over five years. With a tax, they could quadruple,” Mr Freund said.

“For bigger households you could be looking at the type of bills paid for a child’s private school fees.

“Higher bills will start influencing the type of homes people live in and the suburbs they move into.”

Victoria’s desalination plant would also guzzle electricity and add to cost pressures by competing for supply.

The forecasts come as every Victorian household is to be sent revamped bills displaying how their daily use compares with averages for homes of a similar size.

The measure, to be introduced nationally, aims to motivate users to cut consumption and reduce greenhouse gas emissions through adjusting heater and airconditioner thermostats, replacing lights, using efficient appliances and other changes.

Source:  Karen Collier consumer reporter, Herald Sun, www.heraldsun.com.au 21 October 2010

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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