Julia Gillard is right. Electricity bills are rising. However, she is wrong to try to blame the State Governments for the damage being done to household budgets. Her government has pumped tens of billions of dollars into the economy, stifled employment flexibility and imposed new taxes, which have all fuelled cost of living increases. This has been felt by every Australian family and the awareness becomes particularly acute when the utility bills arrive.
I received a cost of living shock of my own this week when my quarterly electricity account appeared in the post. It was nearly 30 per cent higher than the last one. Of course some of that increase was actual usage but most of the rise was due to increased power costs. The group at Tru Energy were even helpful enough to detail exactly what the kWh increases were.
Rate band one rose from $0.236 kWh to $0.28 kWh. Rate band two rose from $0.251 kWh to $0.297. Rate band three went from $0.278 kWh to $0.327 kWh. Foolishly, I am also locked in to a ‘green energy’ contract (an obvious mistake on my part) and get slugged an additional $0.0057 kWh to not save the planet.
Coincidentally, all the above mentioned price increases commenced on 1 July, the very same day the carbon tax came into effect. I am no detective, but it would be easy to deduce that the two are linked. That is certainly the conclusion drawn by a growing majority of Australian families; and it is why Julia Gillard is so desperate to deflect the blame from her ineffective leadership and election perfidy onto the state premiers.
In true Pontius Pilate fashion, Gillard is attempting to wash her hands of the havoc her treacherous tax is having on the mums and dads who struggle to make ends meet every month.
The horror of Australia’s rising electricity prices is compounded when one is made aware of the comparison cost with other like-minded economies. A constituent recently delivered a paper to my office detailing the price of power in Canada. Depending on where you live, electricity prices range from $0.0694 kWh through to $0.1561 kWh, meaning even the most expensive tariff is around half of what we are currently paying.
The question is, why?