Tag Archives: hikes

Queenslanders face ‘huge’ power price hikes

Updated February 22, 2013 21:08:50

The Queensland Government says the latest electricity price rise is unacceptably high.

The average household power bill will rise by 21.4 per cent from July, or an extra $253 per year, with other household tariffs also going up by between 15 and 19 per cent.

Today’s announcement by the Queensland Competition Authority is only a draft, with a final decision due at the end of May.

The State Government froze the standard tariff for 12 months, but the competition regulator says higher network costs now have to be passed on

Treasurer Tim Nicholls says the Government is now looking at the draft ruling.

“What we’ve seen today in the draft determination by the Queensland Competition Authority is an unacceptably large price rise for electricity prices here in Queensland,” he said.

“This Government is determined to make sure that Queensland families are not kicked in the guts by this huge price rise.”

Treasurer Tim Nicholls blames an over-investment in infrastructure and “excessively generous” solar rebate and green energy schemes for the price rise.

He says he cannot do anything about it now, but can for the future.

The plan may include asking generators and distributors to absorb some of the increase.

“It’s particularly down to the Federal Government in relation to allowing their regulator to allow over investment in the network and not questioning the claims,” he said.

“Now we’ve started as a State Government questioning those claims and that’s why we’ve been able to remove from the Forward Estimates about $2 billion of costs from our companies – that will help in the future.”

Mr Nicholls says electricity network costs, which are regulated nationally, will account for about half of the price rise in Queensland.

He says spiralling network costs have not been brought under control.

“Network costs, which are regulated by the Australian Energy Regulator, will be about 50 per cent of the increase,” he said.

“This really just goes to show I think the failures over the last couple of years of the regulator to stop the gold-plating of networks and price-gouging of consumers.”

The Opposition’s Curtis Pitt says the LNP gave people “false hope” that they could bring electricity price rises under control.

“What we’ve seen today is another broken promise by the LNP,” he said.

“People have put their faith in them to address the cost of living. They said they were going to be able to handle these matters and quite simply they’ve made a promise they could never deliver on.”

Linda Parmenter from the Queensland Council of Social Service says low income earners will be hit hard.

“There’ll be more people who don’t pay their bills and end up being disconnected,” she said.

Topics: public-sector, electricity-energy-and-utilities, regulation, brisbane-4000, bundaberg-4670, cairns-4870, gladstone-4680, longreach-4730, mackay-4740, maroochydore-4558, mount-isa-4825, rockhampton-4700, southport-4215, toowoomba-4350, townsville-4810

First posted February 22, 2013 09:05:33

Vehicle rego hikes make motorists ‘easy targets’

Posted December 06, 2012 12:34:53

The Automobile Association of the Northern Territory is calling on the Government to explain how it will spend the money it will get from increasing the cost of car registration.

Vehicle registrations costs will rise by up to 18 per cent following the Government’s mini-budget that was unveiled on Tuesday.

AANT general manager Eden Bell says there is nothing in the detail to explain where the cash will go.

“I think motorists deserve clarification from the CLP,” he said.

“We need to know where that money is going.

“It very much looks like motorists are an easy target and they are going to be slugged accordingly.”

Mr Bell also says it is unfair to charge motorists extra if they choose to pay their motor vehicle registration over the counter, rather than on-line.

Under the Government’s new measures, motorists will be charged $20 if they pay their car registrations at a motor vehicle registration office.

Mr Bell says people should be rewarded if they pay on-line but not penalised if they don’t.

“I think it is the wrong approach to say that you’re going to be automatically penalised for going into the MVR,” he said.

“I think it should be the quite the opposite.”

Topics: government-and-politics, road-transport, nt, darwin-0800

Sparks keep flying over big power cost hikes

Updated November 27, 2012 21:12:34

Northern Territory Treasurer Robyn Lambley has used a Moody’s credit rating assessment to attack the former Labor government over the financial sustainability of the Power and Water Corporation.

The Government says it has no choice but to put up power charges by 30 per cent and water by 40 per cent, because the utilities provider is struggling financially.

Ms Lambley has told parliament that Moody’s reported in January that the corporation would continue to put a strain on the budget and the Territory’s debt position if something wasn’t done.

“Those projections ominously forecast that the debt burden would be pushed to 113 per cent of government revenues by 2014-2015,” she said.

Opposition Leader Delia Lawrie has defended her role as the former treasurer, telling parliament that Moody’s rated the Territory economy as double-A plus, with a stable outlook.

Former chief minister Shane Stone says Ms Lawrie is trying to distract Territorians from the financial position of PowerWater.

Ms Lawrie says the Government is raising power prices to prepare the utility to be sold to Queensland company Energex, which is chaired by Mr Stone.

Mr Stone says the claim is absurd and Ms Lawrie knows power prices need to rise because she allowed the corporation to incur a huge debt.

“She was the treasurer, she was in charge, she had responsibility for the finances of the Territory,” he said.

“She has left behind an appalling mess, like no other treasurer in the history of the Territory.”

Meanwhile, Environment Centre director Stuart Blanch says the power price hikes are only a short-term solution.

He says the increases will help pay for historic under-charging, but won’t address the system’s maintenance costs, which will continue to rise.

Mr Blanch says the Government needs to address long-term electricity costs by encouraging the take-up of solar power.

“What we don’t yet have is a model from the government that changes from a largely centralised, fossil-fuel-powered electricty distribution system to a more decentralised renewable power regeneration and distribution system,” he said.

“We should look at what other countries and states are doing, and take a leaf from their books.”

Topics: government-and-politics, electricity-energy-and-utilities, nt, darwin-0800

First posted November 27, 2012 16:27:52

Mills stands firm on utility price hikes

Updated November 26, 2012 10:35:33

The Northern Territory Chief Minister says a petition will not sway his decision to increase power prices by 30 per cent and water bills by 40 per cent.

The Labor Opposition says more than 3,000 people have signed the petition asking the Territory Government not to go through with the increases.

But Terry Mills says it has to be done in order to reduce Government debt.

“No one will be putting out a petition arguing for a tariff increase no matter what size it is,” he said.

“If I’d gone out and said it was going to be 15 per cent, I think there would still be petitions.

“No one wants to bear the heavier load and I understand why because it’s expensive to live here now.”

The Office of the Chief Minister has taken out a half-page taxpayer-funded newspaper advertisement to explain its reasons for the price rises.

Mr Mills says everybody has to carry the load and staggering the cost would only prolong the burden.

“The fact is we all have to carry that additional load that we have been shielded from by the short-term self indulgent decisions of the previous Labor Government who didn’t have the courage to do what was right and shield future generations from colossal debt growth.”

Topics: electricity-energy-and-utilities, government-and-politics, alice-springs-0870, darwin-0800

First posted November 26, 2012 10:30:31

Utility price hikes ‘fattening pig for sale’: Labor

Updated November 26, 2012 18:23:27

The Northern Territory Opposition Leader says the Government is using price hikes to prepare the Power and Water Corporation for a sell-off.

Delia Lawrie claims the Country Liberals Government is preparing to sell the utility to Energex in Queensland, which is headed by former Country Liberals chief minister Shane Stone.

The Labor Opposition has also raised concerns that Ken Clarke, who is on the Government’s budget review panel, is an Energex board member, alongside Power and Water board members Merv Davies and Linda Mackenzie.

Ms Lawrie says the Chief Minister Terry Mills wants to privatise the utility.

“He is fattening the pig for sale at market,” Ms Lawrie said.

“He wants to sell off Power and Water, privatise the utility.

“And no coincidence that his old mate Shane Stone heads up a private company in Queensland and has Ken Clarke, who’s advising Terry Mills on Power and Water, on the board of Energex in Queensland.”

But the Treasurer Robyn Lambley says the price rises have nothing to do with a plan to privatise.

“Absolute nonsense,” Ms Lambley said.

“It is so far off the table it is not even worth talking about.

“No one in their right mind would buy the Power and Water Corporation.

“It is bordering on insolvency at the moment and that is why we’ve had to make these difficult decisions just three months into Government.”

Topics: electricity-energy-and-utilities, government-and-politics, darwin-0800

First posted November 26, 2012 17:34:31

Power and water price hikes take growing toll

Posted November 22, 2012 16:43:47

A Northern Territory aged care services provider says it will have to fund raise to make ends meet once the price of utilities increases.

Frontier Services says its budget is already stretched and it will be hit hard by the increase in power prices of 30 per cent and water of 40 per cent.

Regional manager Sharon Davis says the impact of the hikes will be huge.

“A quarter of a million dollars is our estimate,” she said.

“We will have to raise funds because our budget is set, our income is set, by the Federal Government.

“There is no way we can add an extra dollar here or extra dollar there to the residents’ fees, they’re all prescribed fees.”

Ms Davis also says the increases will put extra strain on recruitment and on current employees.

“I was almost in tears yesterday considering that impact,” she said.

“We struggle now to recruit.

“Darwin is an expensive place to live.

“Even in places like Katherine and Alice Springs, the costs are high, the housing is more expensive than interstate.

“So, it means somebody on $20 dollars an hour, they’re gone.”

Meanwhile, a Top End child care centre says it will have to raise its daily rate by about $10 next year because of the utilities price hikes.

Louise de Bomford is from a child care centre in Darwin and says there will be a significant flow-on effect to families.

“We are increasing from the first of January to another $5 per day, per child,” she said.

“We will be looking at possibly another $5 a day per child increase in the first quarter of next year.”

She says some families will feel the pinch.

Topics: government-and-politics, aged-care, child-care, electricity-energy-and-utilities, nt, darwin-0800, katherine-0850, alice-springs-0870

Price hikes flagged in Power and Water shocker

Posted October 30, 2012 18:09:22

Electricity price rises have been flagged amid concerns that the Power and Water Corporation is in dire financial straits.

Treasurer Robyn Lambley has told the Northern Territory parliament that she sought, and received, the resignation of corporation board chair Judith King.

Ms Lambley said Power and Water Corporation could not survive without ongoing government support.

“A private company would have been moved into administration in such circumstances,” she said.

She said she had received correspondence showing the board’s chair was aware of the organisation’s situation a year ago.

“Consequently, on Monday, I asked for the resignation of the chair of the Power and Water Corporation board,” she said.

Ms King’s resignation was tendered today.

The Treasurer indicated Territorians could face higher tariffs to make Power and Water commercially viable.

Opposition Leader Delia Lawrie is claiming power, water and sewerage prices could increase by up to 50 cent.

The Treasurer today told Parliament that the Power and Water Corporation is not trading at a sustainable level.

“Look it’s a guessing game at this stage in terms of the CLP plans,” she said.

“We know they are talking about commercial sustainability.

“If you go to the Reeves Report, commercial sustainability would see about a 50 per cent increase across your power, water and sewerage bills.”

Topics: electricity-energy-and-utilities, parliament, political-parties, darwin-0800, nt

Rising energy costs: SC questions linking CNG price hikes with petrol

Apex court seeks detail­s of weekly price review from Ogra, petrol­eum minist­ry.  Apex court seeks details of weekly price review from Ogra, petroleum ministry. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: 

The Supreme Court on Thursday sought from the petroleum ministry and the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) a detailed breakup of compressed natural gas (CNG), natural gas and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) prices as well as copies of agreements between the government and petroleum companies.


A three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, questioned the mechanism of how CNG prices are set and asked the petroleum ministry and Ogra to explain the link between the price hikes of CNG with petroleum products.


The court also asked them to submit details of the weekly price review of petroleum products, along with the component cost and the decisions of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet to allow Ogra and the petroleum ministry to fix prices on a weekly basis.


Chief Justice Chaudhry asked Petroleum Secretary Dr Waqar Masood to explain why there was such a huge difference between CNG prices and its raw component, natural gas, especially since gas was being produced domestically.


Masood informed the apex court that 80% to 85% of petrol is imported, thus petrol prices were adjusted against the international market prices, and also adjusted gas prices against petrol prices. He added that prices of petroleum products in the country would fall, following the setting up and functioning of more refineries.


Justice Jawwad S Khawaja pointed out that while petrol is imported from abroad, gas is produced in Pakistan, which begged the question as to why gas prices are linked with petrol prices. Masood said this was because the LPG quota system was abolished in 2002 and the government had given subsidies worth Rs46 billion to domestic consumers.


“Why do consumers have to suffer because of the losses incurred by petroleum companies?” the chief justice asked.


Masood was then ordered to also explain where the money generated from the Petroleum Product Levy (PDL) was being used. Chief Justice Chaudhry was bewildered as to why the government could not levy the money generated by the PDL, following the lapse of the ordinance that imposed a carbon tax on petroleum companies.


Masood informed the apex court bench that CNG prices are determined as per the ECC’s guidelines. He also submitted the implementation report on the recommendations made in the Justice (retd) Rana Bhagwandas report.


Chief Justice Chaudhry said that the government was not entering into an agreement with petroleum companies on a daily basis for price adjustment, as the agreements were for a specific period. But CNG rates were still increasing daily.


The court also observed how the ECC could make major decisions, such as raising the prices of petrol and CNG, without consulting all the provinces, when autonomy was granted to the provinces under the 18th Amendment. It added that as a result, the provinces were suffering immensely. Justice Khawaja said that such decisions should be taken in the Council of Common Interests instead.


The court later adjourned the case till October 24.


Published in The Express Tribune, October 19th, 2012.


View the original article here

US hikes China solar cell tariffs

11 October 2012 Last updated at 08:21 GMT Workers inspecting solar panels at a factory in China Exports of solar panels and solar cells have been a contentious issues between the US and China The US is to impose sharply higher tariffs on solar cells imported from China, which it says will offset the subsidies China pays its manufacturers.

The Department of Commerce said it will impose tariffs of between 14.78% to 15.97% on Chinese firms.

This compares with an earlier level of between 2.9% and 4.73% it announced in March.

China has criticised the move saying it will hurt trade relations and will provoke trade friction.

“The US is provoking trade friction in the new energy sector, and sending a negative signal to the world that stirs global trade protectionism and obstructs the sector’s development,” Shen Danyang, spokesman for China’s Commerce Ministry was quoted as saying by the Reuters news agency.

Growing tensions

The export of solar cells and solar panels has been a contentious issue between the US and China.

The US-based manufacturers of these products have alleged that government subsidies provided to Chinese firms have helped them cut their prices and flood the market with cheap products.

In its latest report, the Department of Commerce concluded that Chinese firms were selling products in the US at rates below fair value, a practice know as “dumping”.

It said it would levy anti-dumping duties against these firms.

However, the department added that it would issue the orders for the anti-subisidy tariffs and anti-dumping duties once the US International Trade Commission (ITC) affirmed that these practices were hurting US firms.

The ITC is expected to announce its decision on the matter by 23 November.

Timothy Brightbill, a legal representative for SolarWorld Industries Americas, one of the firms that has been the most vocal opponent of Chinese companies, said it would keep up the pressure on authorities to implement strict measures.

“In our view, all Chinese cells and all Chinese modules are dumped and subsidised,” he said.

Sugar price hikes, despite 1.2m ton stock

KARACHI: The price of sugar in the province of Sindh on the rise despite 1.2 million tons of available sugar stocks in the country, Geo News reported.

The ex-mill sugar price across Sindh has recorded an increase of Rs5 per kilo during the last five days.

Industry sources said that following government permission to further export sugar, the escalating trend in price continues since last week. The ex-mill price-hike has triggered rising wholesale price to Rs52 per kilo.

Experts said that 1.2 million tons of sugar stock exists across the country, while the profiteers making false pretence of sugar exports have suddenly escalated the price of sugar.

The people have demanded from the government an effective control of sugar price for it stabilization.

Sugar price hikes, despite 1.2m ton stock

KARACHI: The price of sugar in the province of Sindh on the rise despite 1.2 million tons of available sugar stocks in the country, Geo News reported.


The ex-mill sugar price across Sindh has recorded an increase of Rs5 per kilo during the last five days.


Industry sources said that following government permission to further export sugar, the escalating trend in price continues since last week. The ex-mill price-hike has triggered rising wholesale price to Rs52 per kilo.


Experts said that 1.2 million tons of sugar stock exists across the country, while the profiteers making false pretence of sugar exports have suddenly escalated the price of sugar.


The people have demanded from the government an effective control of sugar price for it stabilization.

Sugar price hikes, despite 1.2m ton stock

KARACHI: The price of sugar in the province of Sindh on the rise despite 1.2 million tons of available sugar stocks in the country, Geo News reported.


The ex-mill sugar price across Sindh has recorded an increase of Rs5 per kilo during the last five days.


Industry sources said that following government permission to further export sugar, the escalating trend in price continues since last week. The ex-mill price-hike has triggered rising wholesale price to Rs52 per kilo.


Experts said that 1.2 million tons of sugar stock exists across the country, while the profiteers making false pretence of sugar exports have suddenly escalated the price of sugar.


The people have demanded from the government an effective control of sugar price for it stabilization.

USC also hikes flour price/kilo by Rs2

KARACHI: Utility Stores Corporation (USC)’s countrywide outlets have also jacked up per kilo flour price by Rs2, Geo News reported.


USC sources said that following chakki flour price hike in the market, the government has also raised the flour prices at its utility stores.


As such in Karachi, ten kilo flour bag price with the increase of Rs20 is available at Rs330 at the utility stores, while in Lahore twenty kilo bag of flour price hiked by Rs580 selling at Rs620 at the stores.

NEPRA hikes tariff for two gencos

ISLAMABAD: The National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) Thursday approved increase in power tariff or a couple of generation companies, Geo News reported.


According to details, tariff hike has been approved under the fuel adjustment charges.


Power tariff for Jamshoro Power Generation Company has been raised from Rs0.99 to Rs1.14 per unit, whereas for Northern Power Generation from R1.02 to Rs1.07.


This increase in the power tariff will not be passed on to the consumers.


NEPRA authorities have said that the cost of every unit generated by the state-owned thermal powerhouses has also reached Rs21.33.


NEPRA has issued the notification of increase in power tariffs of the two power companies.

USC also hikes flour price/kilo by Rs2

KARACHI: Utility Stores Corporation (USC)’s countrywide outlets have also jacked up per kilo flour price by Rs2, Geo News reported.


USC sources said that following chakki flour price hike in the market, the government has also raised the flour prices at its utility stores.


As such in Karachi, ten kilo flour bag price with the increase of Rs20 is available at Rs330 at the utility stores, while in Lahore twenty kilo bag of flour price hiked by Rs580 selling at Rs620 at the stores.