Closure of Hazelwood power station will hit people in the pocket, again

Electricity prices are set to soar on the Border following the recent closure of the Hazelwood coal-fired power station in the La Trobe Valley.

Yearly bills will increase by an average of $99 in Victoria and $74 in NSW over the next two years, according to a new report from the Australian Energy Market Commission released on Wednesday.

Renewable Albury-Wodonga spokeswoman Bobbi McKibbin said it was inevitable low-income households on the Border would suffer an initial blow due to the Victorian government’s inaction prior to the plant’s closure.

“That’s unfortunately what’s going to happen, that lower socio-economic groups will be hit,” she said.

“No plans have been put in place, until recently, when the Victorian government started to get serious.

“Hazelwood only ever had a maximum life expectancy of 40 years and it’s been operating for over 50 years.

“The employees have done a wonderful job to keep it going, but it’s well and truly overdue to be replaced.

”Victoria will lose about 20 per cent of its power generation capacity after the closure of Hazelwood, the AEMC report said.

But an increase in the prices of electricity bills next year will be offset by a fall in 2018-19 thanks to new wind farm investment, which will reduce a reliance on imported energy from interstate.

In NSW, residents will have to fork out an extra $74 annually to pay their electricity bills.

A joint statement from seemingly disparate groups, including the Australian Aluminium Council and the Australian Conservation Council, called on the Commonwealth to support reform of Australia’s energy systems and markets.

“The status quo of policy uncertainty, lack of coordination and unreformed markets is increasing costs, undermining investment and worsening reliability risks,” it said.

“This impacts all Australians, including vulnerable low-income households, workers, regional communities and trade-exposed industries.”

This article was originally published by The Border Mail​