Anger over power bills


ELECTRICITY users concerned after seeing little or no savings on their latest power bills are being urged to contact the consumer watchdog.

Tasmanian businesses voiced their anger and frustration yesterday after noticing network cost rises outshining discounted energy charges on July power bills.

Launceston dry cleaner Mathew Bowen said he was left fuming after "hidden" charges completely undermined cheaper energy rates promised to him following the repeal of the carbon tax.

Retailer Aurora Energy and transmission and distribution provider TasNetworks pointed the finger at each other over who was responsible for passing on the price hikes to customers.

Electricity accounts for households and small businesses should have fallen by 7.8 per cent from July 1 following the abolition of the price on carbon.

Businesses on contestable contracts should also have savings factored into their individual agreements.

Bass Liberal MHR Andrew Nikolic said the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission was watching closely to make sure cuts were passed on to consumers.

Energy Minister Matthew Groom said Aurora Energy had been working with the ACCC to make sure it was meeting its legal and compliance obligations.

Mr Nikolic said people should not have to worry that somehow the breakdown on their power bills were "robbing Peter to pay Paul".

He said the ACCC had authority and resources at its disposal to follow up on the issue.

"If anyone is concerned their bill does not reflect the cuts that should be coming from the repeal of the carbon tax, they should immediately report the matter to the ACCC," Mr Nikolic said.

"If adjustments are being done on accounts where increases in one area are outweighing decreases in another, that needs to be fully justified."

Franklin Greens MHA Cassy O'Connor said despite repeated claims by the Hodgman and Abbott Liberal governments, the repeal of the carbon tax would not lead to lower power bills.

"I have a lot of empathy for businesses struggling with higher power bills," Ms O'Connor said.

"We've seen gold plating of the transmission networks, not just here in Tasmania but around the country, which has led to the increase in power bills for consumers and small businesses."