IPART chairman defends NSW price rises

Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal chairman Peter Boxhall has defended the 18 per cent rise in electricity prices that is set to impact NSW residents on July 1.

In an interview with ABC Radio on June 27, Mr Boxhall claimed that the higher than forecasted increases were impacted by economic conditions and growing costs.  

"In the final determination, electricity prices are to increase by an average of 18 percent, which is two percent greater than our draft determination," Mr Boxhall said. 

"And the main reason it's a little higher is because financial market conditions are very unsettled, which has increased risk and increased the cost of finance for new generators."

Mr Boxhall went on to claim that businesses have to be able to pass on costs, and electricity suppliers are no different.

When accused of putting energy company profits ahead of consumer welfare, Mr Boxhall admitted that IPART were concerned about the impact of the price increases on Australian residents.

However he claimed that the hikes were necessary in keeping these companies economically viable.

"The companies have to be able to get a return on their investment and we've worked out what we think is a reasonable rate of return on the investment, and we've factored that in," he added.

Posted by Charlie Moore