21 June 2017
The first Budget of the Berejiklian Government has cut assistance to households struggling to pay ever rising energy bills.
It comes as the energy companies that have a 90 per cent share of the NSW retail market gear up to charge customers a collective 17 per cent more for electricity on top of an eight per cent increase last year. (See table).
These increases far outstrip inflation, which is running at 2.1 per cent.
The response of Premier Gladys Berejiklian and her Energy Minister Don Harwin is to cut State Government assistance to households struggling to pay soaring energy costs.
Last year, the NSW Government promised to provide $259 million to assist over 800,000 eligible households with their energy bills. ($323.70 on average per household.)
Now only $257 million will be spent on energy rebates and it will be spread across 900,000 NSW customers.
This is an average of $285.56 per household, a cut of more than $38 or 12 per cent per year.
The Minister yesterday claimed there is no cut to assistance, but the Budget tells a different story.
In anyone’s language, $257 million is less than $259 million last year, especially when it is now spread across an additional 100,000 households.
The average cut per eligible household rises to nearly $50 per year, or nearly 14 per cent, if you include inflation.
|Energy Provider||Electricity % increase (from July 1)||Amount on average per household||Gas % increase (from July 1)||Amount on average per household|
|Energy Australia||20 %||$320||6.6 %||$49|
|AGL||16 %||$269||9.3 %||$83|
|Origin||16.1 %||$310||8.5 %||n/a|
Quotes attributable to Labor Leader in the Legislative Council and Shadow Minister for Energy Adam Searle:
“The Berejiklian Government is totally out of touch with the everyday experience of households across NSW struggling with ever increasing energy prices, especially electricity prices.
“This Government has done everything it can to drive up energy prices in the State and now they’re cutting assistance to those homes in most need.
“Last year, the NSW Government provided $259 million in energy rebates – an average of $323.70 per eligible household.
“In yesterday’s Budget, this assistance was cut by 12 per cent, or 14 per cent if you include inflation – down to $257 million or $285.56 per eligible household. (900,000 households).
“Despite these significant cuts, in the face of steep increases in the price of electricity and other energy costs, the Minister claims to be actually increasing assistance overall.
“It’s clear from the Budget that this government has no idea how to get NSW out of the energy crisis they got us into.”