Power prices in Tasmania will rise by almost 12 per cent, adding hundreds of dollars to the average annual household bill.
The Tasmanian Economic Regulator on Friday approved supplier Aurora Energy’s 11.88 per cent increase for residential and small business customers from July 1.
It means the annual electricity bill for residential customers will rise from around $196 to $227 and about $176 for businesses with median usage.
“It’s come at a very difficult time and a very challenging time for all of us across Australia,” Energy Minister Guy Barnett told reporters.
“There have been increases of up to 18 per cent and up to 21 per cent across the country.”
Energy consumers nationwide have been told to brace for more challenges in coming weeks, as the Australian Energy Market Operator intervenes after suspending the spot price market.
The state Liberal government will offer a $180 discount for eligible electricity concession account holders, which includes a $61 discount they were already entitled to.
A scheme offering interest-free loans of up to $10,000 for residential customers, landlords and small businesses to invest in energy-efficient products has been expanded.
“The announcement of a one-off payment to pensioners will barely cover half the of the electricity price increase,” Labor energy spokesman Dean Winter said.
“(It) does nothing for Tasmanians who are struggling with the cost of living.
“Loans of $10,000 are no use to Tasmanians struggling to make ends meet week-to-week.”
Tasmanian Economic Regulator Joe Dimasi said the increase had been driven by external factors.
“In particular, wholesale electricity costs are 37 per cent higher than in 2021/22 and account for around 10.4 per cent of the 11.88 per cent price increase,” he said.
Mr Barnett said Tasmania would remain part of the National Electricity Market, saying disconnecting would have “unintended consequences” and damage jobs, growth and development.
The island state joined the national market in April 2006 when the undersea Basslink cable to Victoria was connected.
Aurora Energy Chief Operating Officer, Kane Ingham, acknowledged the rise would make it very tough for individuals and families already struggling to make ends meet.