Tasmania's power bills cheaper

MORE than half of typical Tasmanian households are paying $244 less on their annual power bill than the Australian average, while natural gas is more expensive than in the rest of the country.

The latest comparison of electricity and gas prices conducted by the Tasmanian Economic Regulator, has found Tasmanian power prices are in the low-mid range when compared with charges in other states for average levels of consumption.

However, small businesses using natural gas in the state are slugged amongst the highest prices, paying up to $570 more a quarter, or 50 per cent more, for natural gas than their interstate counterparts.

This follows a 6 per cent increases in gas prices implemented by TasGas and Aurora Energy this month. The regulator also highlighted Tasmania's generous concession rates, which offer the biggest discounts on electricity bills in the country.

Aurora Energy chief executive Peter Davis said the report showed that the January price decrease had pushed the state's power bills below the national average for low, medium or high levels of electricity use.

Despite the 5.2 per cent price reduction, the concession available stayed at $458.84 a year.

More than half of Tasmanians are on a combination of tariffs that offer a reduced unit price for heating.

"Because most customers use more electricity on their discounted heating tariff, their overall costs per unit of electricity consumed tends to be lower than in mainland states, where the discounted heating/hot water tariff is not available," Mr Davis said.

Customers in the ACT enjoy the lowest quarterly electricity bills at the average level of consumption of 7000 kilowatt hours a year, due to a combination of low fixed charges and the low off-peak rate.

Tasmanian residential customers will be able to switch to other electricity retailers from July 1 when full competition begins.


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