ACT households turn to solar as Canberra electricity bills continue to rise
Households in the ACT are facing an annual increase of $378 in combined gas and electricity bills, a new study shows. According to the St Vincent de Paul Society report, electric-only Canberra electricity bills had an increase of $275-$330 in costs since July 2017.
However, ACT households with solar installations have annual average bills of $1,100 for 3 kW systems and $1,465 for 1.5 kW systems, the report shows.
This means on average an annual bill of around $1,040 less for households with solar panels than non-solar homes.
A Melbourne Institute survey also shows that ACT households are spending more on home energy than those in other Australian states and territories.
Power bills soar in ACT despite retail discounts
Average yearly gas bills have risen $124 to an annual total of $1,980, the Vinnies study reveals. Gas prices also went up on July 1 this year.
The territory’s main power retailer ActewAGL has passed on to consumers the maximum price rise allowed by the Independent Competition and Regulatory Commission.
However, the retailer did offer residents a 25 per cent discount in June. This applied if customers signed up online and shifted to direct debit arrangements to pay their bills.
The only other ACT retailers are Energy Australia and now Origin Energy. Both have frozen prices at 2017-18 levels in a bid to remain competitive.
According to the Melbourne Institute study, ACT households are spending more on energy consumption than anywhere else in Australia.
Solar installation shown to reduce Canberra electricity bills
Around 17,600 small and medium sized solar panel systems are installed in the ACT.
Gavin Dufty is social policy unit manager with St Vincent de Paul Society. Solar is effective, he says, yet tenants and low-income households can struggle to access solar power.
That’s why schemes offering landlords incentives to install solar are springing up around Australia. The Queensland government is also involving solar retailers in discount schemes for low-income families.
Meanwhile, the ACT government’s Next Generation Energy Storage program is offering special grants. This will subsequently help more than 5,000 homes and businesses to install solar storage batteries.