According to the new Climate Council report, End of the Line: Coal in Australia, there were almost 100 breakdowns at fossil fuel power stations over a seven-month period ending in June 2018. Furthermore, by 2020, over half of the coal power stations in Australia will be over 30 years old. It comes as no surprise the older they get, the more unreliable and expensive to operate. Unfortunately, Australia has failed to build enough new generation to replenish the retirement of the current coal plants.
Australia is a large country, and therefore has one of the longest (and most pricey) electricity networks in the world. Keeping poles and wires well maintained to move electricity around the nation is very expensive, and can make up half of our power bills.
A very prevalent cost of electricity is its distribution; that is, getting it from the power plant to the home. Australia has one of the largest electricity networks in the world. Keeping the poles and wires well maintained and building new parts of the electricity network is not cheap.
According to the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, the biggest contributor to rising electricity prices has been a substantial increase in network charges. This means money spent on the poles and wires that carry the electricity from power plants to homes and businesses.
The Clean Energy Council’s view on price rises
A variety of different factors are contributing to price rises. The Clean Energy Council outlines them as the following:
- A lack of national energy policy beyond 2020. Businesses does not have the necessary certainty to invest in the new infrastructure needed to replace the old power plants which are retiring;
- Increased charges by energy retailers for winning and billing customers;
- The export of gas reducing the amount of gas available for local companies, which makes it more expensive;
- The retirement of large old coal-fired power stations with not enough new power generation to replace them;
- Game playing by power plant operators in the wholesale electricity market and not enough competition to help reduce prices; and
- Complicated consumer information which makes it hard for people to easily understand the options they have available and make smart choices to reduce their bills.
What can we do to combat rising electricity prices?
The best thing we can do to combat rising electricity prices is to reduce or better manage ‘peak demand’ times. This means turning off appliances when they’re not really needed. It also means doing the laundry during off peak times, when electricity is cheaper.
While retailers and regulators work out the best way to lower prices and maintain a stable grid, there is something to be done at the grassroots level. Installing solar panels and battery storage in your home or business makes a major contribution to slashing your power bills.
The increasing uptake of rooftop solar panels is already playing a major role in managing peak demand on hot summer days.
Utility companies rely on coal, oil and natural gas to power homes across the country. The cost of all three of these fossil fuels are vulnerable to fluctuating markets, so homeowners may notice rising electricity costs as the years go by. But when you install solar panels, you free yourself from having to worry about how much your electric company will charge you on a monthly basis. With solar panels, you are protecting yourself from having to deal with the rising electricity costs that will inevitably happen within the next few years.
So you see, even though installing solar panels requires a steep financial investment, this home upgrade will pay for itself in no time! Get in touch with an agent at SunMate Solar and get started on large savings while reducing your carbon footprint at the same time!