Shock 18% price hike for power

CLARENCE Valley householders and businesses can expect more electricity pain this winter after the regulator gave the go-ahead for an 18% price rise in a draft report released on Thursday.

The Independent Pricing and Review Tribunal said the 18.1% rise for Country Energy customers can take effect from July 1.

This translates into an average residential customer paying between $4.38 and $6.08 extra a week, or $228 and $316 extra a year.

Further price increases of between 2% to 10% are likely next year, IPART said.

The rises follow last year's 12.75% increase in Country Energy prices.

IPART attributed the price rises to an increase in network (towers and cables) costs that retailers must pay, as well as an increase in payables due to the Federal Government's Renewable Energy Target scheme.

IPART chairman Rod Sims said the price increases would be difficult for many families to deal with.

Any customer experiencing financial difficulties is urged to get in touch with Country Energy as soon a possible, a spokesperson said. The company has a number of programs to soften the blow of rising prices, including accessing government rebates.



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