NSW power bills will fall 10 per cent after the Australian Energy Regulator ruled that the state’s government-owned network companies can’t profit from their higher cost levels compared with more efficient privatised networks in Victoria and South Australia.
By reducing revenue for the NSW power network companies by about $7.6 billion over four years, the ruling threatens the Baird government’s plan to raise $13 billion by partially privatising them.
But it also hits a scare campaign by power industry unions and the NSW Labor opposition that private ownership would lead to higher power bills.
The AER price determination and a separate benchmarking report showed that “privatised electricity networks are more efficient and deliver lower prices to consumers’’ according to the Business Council of Australia. In a move with ramifications for power prices around Australia, the AER ruled that five electricity networks and one gas company in NSW will have to make a big price cuts from July.
AER chairman Paula Conboy said electricity prices for an average NSW household would fall next year by $219 and by $360 for an average small business, which is more than before the carbon tax was scrapped.