Mild winter and government rebates ease electricity bill pain

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The ACCC’s latest electricity report shows electricity bill prices for residential customers across the National Electricity Market (NEM) grew by 14% between September 2022 and September 2023, however, the impact of these increases was offset by lower electricity usage and government rebates.

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The consumer watchdog’s report captures some of the longer-term impacts of the volatility in the wholesale electricity market experienced in mid-2022 and examines the billing amounts and effective prices (price per unit of electricity used) faced by residential and small business electricity consumers across New South Wales, South Australia, South East Queensland and Victoria.

To inform this report, the ACCC has collected 15 million electricity bills for regular customers, from eight retailers in New South Wales, Victoria, South East Queensland, and South Australia. This data set contains information on charges, plan types, usage, discounts and solar.

In addition, for the first time the ACCC has collected data on embedded networks from eight electricity retailers, with the additional dataset of 3 million electricity bills covering the vast majority of those embedded networks served by authorised retailers. Both datasets cover the period of July 2022 to September 2023.

Prices increased as a result of the continued effects of the energy market events in 2022. However, increases were largely offset by lower electricity usage due to Australia experiencing its warmest winter on record in 2023. This led to lower usage which meant household electricity bills remained relatively steady (rising 1%) and small business bills decreased by 9% in September 2023.

Government rebates also helped to offset the impact of price increases on customer bills. The report found residential electricity bills in the September 2023 quarter would have been 14% higher without government rebates. South East Queensland residents experienced the greatest offset in their electricity bill, with an average saving of $176 per bill, as almost all customers in the region were eligible for a rebate.

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“While electricity bills were relatively stable in the year to September 2023, this was largely due to an unusually mild winter as well as the presence of government rebates. A return to more normal weather conditions may result in consumers receiving higher bills this year as their levels of consumption increase,” ACCC commissioner Anna Brakey said.

The full report is available here.

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