Origin announces major cuts to electricity prices

Origin has lowered its electricity prices in Queensland and South Australia and will absorb an expected 3 per cent price rise in New South Wales.

Origin is the first retailer to announce its new prices to take effect from July 1.

It will be the first time since 2015 there will be no increase to its mid-year retail electricity prices.

“Customers have felt the pinch of higher electricity prices and while this is a modest turnaround, we are glad to be delivering better news this year,” Origin executive general manager retail Jon Briskin said.

“Our prices reflect a more stable National Electricity Market overall.

“We’ve also absorbed higher green scheme and network costs in NSW and ACT turning what would have been another increase into a freeze on our base tariffs in those states.”

The changes apply to its base tariffs and there could be further savings available for customers if they sign up to competitive market offers.

“We believe we can drive electricity prices even lower for Australian households and businesses, if we can agree on a long-term energy policy to encourage timely investment in new supply to replace the nation’s ageing power stations,” Mr Briskin said.

“We encourage the industry and governments at all levels to stay the course and continue to progress the national energy guarantee (NEG).”

In 2017, Origin had among the lowest retail standing electricity prices and was the only retailer to announce it would freeze base tariffs for its customers in financial hardship.

Origin also introduced a special low-priced offer for concession customers in South Australia and delivered automatic savings for non-discounted and concession customers in Victoria.

Energy Consumers Australia CEO Rosemary Sinclair said the announcement was good news for some but the decision not to provide price relief for consumers in NSW or the ACT did not meet the expectations of consumers in those markets.

“There’s some good news here for people in Queensland and South Australia, but very unfortunately, no price relief for households and small businesses in New South Wales or the ACT,” Ms Sinclair said.

“With the costs of electricity generation and managing the poles and wires falling, consumers are expecting to see prices coming back down to more normal levels having seen around 30 per cent increases in the past two years.

“The ACCC review of electricity prices is due this month and they’ve already said there is a severe electricity affordability problem which is putting Australian businesses and consumers under unacceptable pressure.”