Tamsen Territory

Your Mysterious Power Bill Changes

Many of the 5.7 million Australian electric power users without solar panels on their roofs are likely to face very different power costs when they receive their next quarterly bill.

Although we have continually been told in recent times that the already high price of power will be reduced, certain power retailing companies are simply currently advising their customers that “new electricity rates” will apply from the beginning of this month.

They do not, however, warn that the new rates will generally sharply increase or even double the cost of using power unless their customers undertake a major change to the way in which they live their daily lives, how they work by the hour and when they go to sleep.

All this is going on at a time when the wholesale cost of power is reportedly actually 300 per cent cheaper than it was two years ago, according to data from the Australian Energy Regulator.

But the problem is that this does not satisfy the current financial needs of the power retailers who have for some time now adopted a policy of increasing their revenues and profits.

The current situation is that the wholesale price savings achieved through Federal Government action are not to be reflected in our individual household, commercial and industrial power bills.

From research, it would in fact appear that no Australian energy retailer has passed on the vast savings which they have recently accumulated — and now want more in the kitty.

Unknown to many energy customers, these retailers are quietly and almost secretly replacing the standard power usage meters in their customers’ individual meter boxes with so-called “smart” versions of this equipment.

Those of us who may have known of this initiative were merely led to believe that the new meters were merely an upgrade of technology in our best interests.

At no time were I and my friends and acquaintances in the Clarence region officially advised that the new smart meters were there to force us to change our living habits involving certain times of each day.

The true story of the smart meter is that every energy consumer in Australia will have one at their premises by the year 2030, with quite a number already installed.

The nett result of this is that every single Australian will be experiencing, within the next six years, the biggest shift ever in the way we pay for our electricity consumption.

Up to this point in time, the pricing of electricity in this country has been very basic. The amount of power we have used over a three-month period has been noted by our retailers and we have been charged according to a tariff of so many kilowatts used.

Now, however, we will start receiving power bills to meet the cost of electricity used at certain times of day and night as assessed by the smart meters.

To avoid far greater power costs affecting your household or company budget, you will now have to consider changing your habitual times of showering, cooking, clothes washing, heating or cooling and re-charging your new e-car or senior’s scooter.

From what I can discover on the subject from tight-lipped retailers, power charges under various new tariffs now in force will be considerably higher between the daily hours of 6am and 10am and from 3pm to 1am the following day.

This means that budget conscious householders will now, for instance, have to be careful with the way they turn on their powered equipment over a total of 14 hours in every 24 hours.

Another nasty angle to this story is that the new demand tariffs are based on the intensity of power used at what are peak hours of activity.

It would appear that we can also be charged over the 90-day bill period at a rate set by the highest amount of power used over a short space of time during peak hours.

Over half a century ago, one of our previous prime ministers called on us to “Turn on the light” to achieve progress. Now it is a case of turning it off to save losing more money.