Since Barry O’Farrell came to office promising to lower the cost of living:
· The average annual household electricity bill in NSW has risen 42.6 per cent;
· In Sydney and the Hunter, the average household is paying up to $729 a year more for electricity than in 2010/11 – a rise of 56.8 per cent; and
· In Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong, the average household is paying up to $247 a year more for gas than in 2010/11 – a rise of 37.9 per cent.
RESIDENTIAL ELECTRICITY PRICE RISES UNDER O’FARRELL
Origin/Essential Energy (Country NSW)
AGL RESIDENTIAL GAS PRICE RISES UNDER O’FARRELL
Source: Independent Pricing and Review Tribunal
“Mr O’Farrell promised to tackle the cost of living so it is vital he be held to account for yet another rise in the price of electricity and gas,” Opposition Leader John Robertson said today.
“Without mercy and without fail, Mr O’Farrell has passed on electricity bill increases in July 2011, July 2012 and July 2013 – adding up to $729 for the average Sydney and Hunter household.
“Gas prices have soared 37.9 per cent on this Premier’s watch.
“This winter, many families will be forced to turn the heating off in order to stop their finances going over the edge.”
The State Government – as controlling shareholder – extracts compulsory dividends from the State-owned energy companies. In Opposition, the Coalition promised to freeze the level of dividend payments – but in Government it has broken this commitment and is raking in a record $1.153 billion this year.
“The profits of the energy companies – built on the back of every NSW household – are going straight into the coffers of the O’Farrell Government,” Mr Robertson said.
“Mr O’Farrell has broken his promise to freeze the dividend obligations of the energy companies – denying them the ability to offer households much-needed relief.”
Shadow Energy Minister Ron Hoenig said that the rolling electricity price rises had made a farce of Mr O’Farrell’s election promise to deliver families a $75 energy rebate – one the Government had failed to publicise anyway.
The Government promised payment for 540,000 families but as of April 2013, only 8500 families were registered to receive assistance.
Mr Hoenig added that rising electricity prices were just a curtain-raiser for what would occur if the Government privatised the State’s poles and wires.
“In Victoria, electricity prices soared by 170 per cent when the State’s poles and wires were privatised,” Mr Hoenig said.
“If people think that electricity bills are high now, just wait until the poles and wires are sold off.”