Regulator signals cheaper electricity bills

Electricity prices look set to fall in the eastern states 171 6011033 0 14102572 300

There's been a fair amount of discussion about how retailers can lower electricity prices. Fortunately for small businesses in particular, a fresh start could be just around the corner. The Australian Energy Regulator (AER) has announced planned changes to trim network costs in the near future, which could significantly cut down on the amount customers need to pay on their energy bills. 

The announcement has been a long time coming, with the AER investigating revenue proposals submitted by electricity distribution and transmission businesses along the eastern seaboard. The decision will set the level of revenue that energy suppliers can gather from their customers to cover network costs, something the NSW Business Chamber says will be a big help for small business owners. 

According to Chief Executive of the NSW Business Chamber Stephen Cartwright, households in NSW have had an extra $580 added to the average power bill over the last five years. He noted that the AER's decision could save around 5 per cent on annual electricity bills for small business over 2015-16. 

"The regulator's final determination will provide much-needed relief for businesses across the state," Mr Cartwright said. 

"AER's decision to lower electricity network prices in NSW confirms that the lease of the State's electricity assets will deliver more affordable electricity."

This will also be reflected throughout the eastern states. In southeast Queensland, small business are also expected to save around $53 a year on average, according to the the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland. Moreover, in South Australia, a recent survey by Business SA found that 87 per cent of member companies wanted to see a reduction in electricity prices - and all businesses are likely to breathe a sigh of relief. 

Households will likely feel the benefit as well. AER Chair Paula Conboy said any costs for delivering energy above efficient levels will now be borne by the electricity suppliers, not consumers. The price of delivering electricity can account for up to 50 per cent of a household's average energy bill - but by setting a tight benchmark, energy suppliers have seen their revenue stream from network cost-cover cut by over 30 per cent in some cases. 

Posted by Richard West