Australia’s Consumer Watchdog says household electricity bills across the country have risen by an average of $300 (US$187) in the past six months.
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) Chairman Gina Cass-Gottlieb told a parliamentary committee that the amount represented a 25% increase in electricity bills for the average household.
Small business gains are much higher, with the chairman estimating a price differential of $1,500.
At the hearing, members of the Economic Commission questioned the ACCC about where in the energy sector there have been price increases.
Cass-Gottlieb said several factors, including the war in Ukraine, unexplained shutdowns of generators and floods affecting coal mines and coal-fired power plants, have driven prices soaring.
As such, she said rising electricity prices are not necessarily an indicator of anti-competitive behavior.
Nonetheless, the chairman said the ACCC closely monitors gas and power companies and reports to financial officials every six months.
As Alinta Energy CEO Jeff Dimery warned that retail electricity prices could surge another 35% in 2023, price increases over the past six months are likely to be the last for Australian consumers. There is none.
Meanwhile, the Labor government said it would gradually lower energy prices, fulfilling an election promise to cut electricity prices by $275 by 2025.
Garth Hamilton, a Liberal MP and deputy chairman of the Economics Committee, said Australian households were struggling with rising costs of living.
“Households can actually take advantage of the $275 reduction in energy prices promised by the government,” he said in comments obtained by AAP.
“This upcoming budget must deliver on these energy cost reductions.”
ACCC finds no evidence of unwarranted gasoline price increases
On a separate topic, Cass-Gottlieb told the Economic Commission that the ACCC had found no evidence of unusually high gasoline prices after the federal government fully reinstated the fuel excise tax in late September. rice field.
Prior to the revival, accountants had ordered consumer watchdogs to monitor retailers for signs of unreasonable price increases.
According to the Australian Petroleum Institute, the average retail price is petrol price Across major cities, prices fell 2.9 cents to $1.83 a liter in the week ending Oct. 9.
However, wholesale prices jumped more than 13 cents from the previous week to $1.70 per liter.
Commsec economist Craig James said gasoline prices could rise to $2.15 a liter in the coming weeks due to the return of the fuel excise tax and the capital’s return to the top of the fuel cycle.