Min­is­ter flags power price surge

Great Southern Herald - - News - Daniel Mercer

WA En­ergy Min­is­ter Ben Wy­att has in­di­cated house­hold elec­tric­ity prices could have to rise by up to 15 per cent within two years as part of moves to al­low peo­ple to choose from whom they buy their power.

Mr Wy­att said he wanted to end State-owned power provider Synergy’s mo­nop­oly over the res­i­den­tial elec­tric­ity mar­ket “sooner rather than later”.

He was un­able to pro­vide a dead­line but said it would be “won­der­ful” to achieve the timetable set out by the pre­vi­ous gov­ern­ment of July 2019.

Mr Wy­att, who is also Trea­surer, said the re­tail war in the nat­u­ral gas mar­ket was clear ev­i­dence of the ben­e­fits of com­pe­ti­tion and he wanted them repli­cated in the elec­tric­ity sec­tor.

But to achieve “full re­tail con­testa­bil­ity”, he con­ceded the gap be­tween the cost to Synergy of pro­vid­ing elec­tric­ity and what it was able to charge would have to be bridged.

And Mr Wy­att ac­knowl­edged the gap be­tween prices and “costre­flec­tive” tar­iffs was now about 15 per cent. While he said he would fo­cus on clos­ing the gap as much as pos­si­ble by cut­ting Synergy’s costs and mak­ing it more ef­fi­cient, in­evitably house­hold prices would have to rise to cover much of the dif­fer­ence.

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