Winners and losers in new energy pricing outlook

In its latest electricity trends report, the Australia Energy Market Commission (AEMC) predicts Western Australia, the Northern Territory and the ACT will continue to see electricity prices increase while the rest of the country enjoys price reductions.

AEMC predicts prices will rise sharply Australia-wide in the first quarter of 2018 before falling by 6.2 per cent each year on average over the next two years from July as a result of falling wholesale energy costs.

Prices paid by WA consumers are set by the WA government, which subsidised electricity prices. Residential prices were now less than the cost of supply. An analysis of underlying factors found there was likely to be an increase in wholesale costs, which made up around 40 per cent of a typical bill. This could see WA experience a 6.3 per cent jump in current energy bills.

Victoria is set to be the biggest winner in years to come, with power prices tipped to drop 8.2 per cent between July 2018 and 2020.

However, yearly bills in Victoria are tipped to be 15.9 per cent higher this financial year, driven by the wholesale electricity price, the closure of Hazelwood coal-fired power plant and a higher gas price, which increased the cost of operating gas-fired generators.

Annual electricity bills for Victorians will peak at around $1,275 for an average residential user, but will drop to an average of $1,075 by the 2019-20 financial year.

South Australia and Queensland will see a similar drop in price of 7.3 and 7.1 per cent from the middle of next year.

NSW and Tasmania are expected to have the smallest reduction in future prices, with declines of 6.6 and 6.5 per cent respectively from the middle of next year.

Annual electricity bills in NSW are forecast to be 10.2 per cent higher for the current 2017-18 period compared to last year, reaching close to an annual total of $1,300 for an average residential user. They are expected to fall to an average annual rate of $1,125 for the 2019-20 financial year.