Power Prices on The Rise In NSW

Thursday 15 October 2020

The average cost of electricity in New South Wales has risen by more than $500 over the past decade according to new research from Vinnies.

As part of our Tariff-Tracking: 10 year recap report conducted in partnership with Alviss Consulting, we have tracked electricity prices across Australia between 2010 – 2019 with results showing consumers are feeling the pinch of trying to keep the lights on.

Over the past decade a number of factors have contributed to the current state of the electricity market including the NSW Government’s decision to deregulate the retail market (2014) and selling off 50% of the Ausgrid (2016) and Endeavour (2017) networks, along with the Federal Government’s move to abandon the National Energy Guarantee (2018).

While there has been a decrease in power prices over the past year, we also know many people have been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic with job losses and an increase in underemployment. Additionally, many businesses have transitioned to working from home arrangements over the past seven months, meaning people have increased their home energy use and experienced higher bills.

In recent months retailers have largely opted against disconnecting people due to COVID-19, however without strong measures going forward we anticipate a sharp increase in the event protections are relaxed. If people are struggling to pay their electricity bills, they can ask for assistance from their retailers through a hardship program or seeking access to the NSW Government’s Energy Accounts Payments Assistance (EAPA) scheme.

In a further instance of the disadvantage faced by people living outside of metropolitan areas, data from the report reveals households in regional areas pay significantly more for their energy. In spite of this disparity which sees the average annual bill for regionally-based Essential Energy customers at $2,370 compared with the metropolitan-based Ausgrid ($2,030) and Endeavour ($2,015), there are no additional assistance packages available for people in regional areas.

Due to the difficulty many people face in navigating the energy market, the best and worst market offers can vary significantly – ranging from $745 in Ausgrid’s area to $890 in Essential’s area. While the NSW Government’s energy switch service can help consumers compare prices, this service is only accessible to people who receive their bills online.

HOW VINNIES IS HELPING

In the past year Vinnies NSW provided $4 million in energy assistance through the NSW Government’s Energy Accounts Payment Assistance (EAPA) scheme.

While Vinnies is no longer offering the EAPA service, we are committed to helping people understand their energy use. Our members can advise people of rebates they may be eligible for and help to access hardship programs offered by retailers.

If you are struggling with your energy prices and need assistance, contact Vinnies on 13 18 12.

See the Tariff-Tracking: 10 year recap report.

Find out the average power price in your postcode using our Tariff-Tacking Map.

Service NSW offers a cost of livings service to help people understand rebates and savings they may be eligible for – find out more.