Ship part

Households jump ship as electricity prices hit record high

The cost of energy is rising for households, with more Australians than ever voting with their feet and ditching the most expensive suppliers.

Victorians made the switch at the highest rate of 34 per cent – ​​compared to 29 per cent nationally – in part thanks to initiatives by the Andrews government to facilitate cost comparison.

Wholesale power hit a new high of $349 per megawatt-hour in June due to global pressures including Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, The Australian reported.

Old and unreliable coal-fired power plants have also been blamed for creating gaps in the market, which has contributed to rising local prices.

The June price jumped 162% from a year earlier and experts say the pressure is likely to continue.

Camera iconWholesale energy prices hit a record high of $349 per megawatt hour in June. NCA NewsWire/Daniel Pockett Credit: News Corp Australia

National Electricity Market (NEM) futures prices of $222 per MWh represented a 44% jump from their May level.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese told a meeting of energy experts in Sydney on Wednesday that the invasion of Ukraine was “exacerbating global energy insecurity, affecting energy supply and price and reshaping energy markets”.

He described Australia’s NEM as being under “enormous pressure”, also citing the previous government’s limited investment in renewable energy and the strengthening of existing infrastructure.

“Everyday Australians are not just paying for their electricity, but for the cost of building and operating an outdated grid,” Mr Albanese said.

GOVERNMENT PRESSER
Camera iconPrime Minister Anthony Albanese pointed the finger at Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and local reinforcement of obsolete energy infrastructure. NCA NewsWire / Gaye Gerard Credit: News Corp Australia

Households in Victoria can compare energy retailers online at Victorian Energy Compare, which also offers a $250 electricity rebate for those who do.

Elsewhere, residents can call their retailer and ask if they’re getting the best deal for them. They can also check online at the Australian Government’s Energy Made Easy website.

Some smaller retailers have struggled to survive amid soaring wholesale prices, prompting regulators to intervene.

This week, Australia’s Energy Market Operator (AEMO) suspended business from the retailer owned by its Power Club members.

Around 400 of the retailer’s customers have been automatically transferred to other suppliers under the Retailer of Last Resort benefit which guarantees the continued supply of essential energy services.

It follows the similar fate of other smaller retailers Weston Energy, Pooled Energy and community retailer Enova Energy, all of which have gone bankrupt this year.