Gas price hike pending for NSW customers

INCREASED network and retail costs are set to raise NSW gas prices by up to 8.6 per cent next financial year, according to the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART).
In its April draft report, IPART detailed the average gas and electricity prices for NSW residential and small business customers in the next three financial years, through regulated retailers.
The draft allowed for an average electricity price increase of three per cent between 2013 and 2014, in line with inflation.
Price increases for individual retailers would vary, with a 9.2 per cent increase for AGL Energy customers, 5.5 per cent for ActewAGL, 6.4 per cent for Origin Energy in Wagga Wagga and 5.5 per cent for Origin Energy customers in Albury and Murray Valley.
According to the draft report, network charges would continue to increase significantly, particularly for AGL customers supplied by the Jemena gas distribution network.
IPART chairman Peter Boxall said rising network costs were a major factor in the price hikes.
“The sustained increases in network costs have been the largest contributor to recent increases in gas prices,” he said.
“We consider that action is required to address policy settings that are leading to higher than necessary gas network prices.”
The merits review framework allows network businesses to appeal the regulator’s decision on the charges they can levy on retailers for use of the distribution network.
Mr Boxall said the framework was in need of updating to ensure it effectively aided customers with their appeals.
“Changing the review framework to ensure that it serves the long term interests of customers is an important measure that governments could implement to limit unnecessary increases in gas network prices,” he said.

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