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Monday, February 9, 2015

Electric Shock

NT News, 9 Feb 2015, by Maria Billias

Nightcliff Fitness Works gym owner Seann Scheppard says his power costs have shot up in the past quarter
Nightcliff Fitness Works gym owner Seann Scheppard 
says his power costs have shot up in the past quarter
Territorians hit out at power price hikes with many outraged bills have doubled over last quarter.

TERRITORIANS have hit out at the latest power and water price hikes, with some residents claiming their bills have more than doubled in the past quarter. 

One business owner told the NT News his electricity costs had gone from $9,000 to $15,000 per quarter. Jacana Energy has laid the blame on increased energy consumption over the festive period, but the bills also incor- porate the 5 per cent price hike introduced on January 1. 

Fitness Works owner Seann Scheppard said he had no option but to absorb the costs as a loss so fees were not passed on to members. The gym’s electricity costs have shot up from $2000 to $5000 a month in the past few months. 

“We don’t pass the costs on so we are losing money – it’s a lose-lose situation,” Mr Scheppard said. “You think you are doing OK ... and then you get a bill. It’s quite stressful.” This is the third increase since the NT Government announced the three-year rollout of power price rises in 2012. 

Chief Minister Adam Giles was forced to stagger the fee increases after public outrage at his predecessor Terry Mills’ attempt to slap an outright 30 per cent jump in 2012. But furious Territorians left about 200 acid comments on a public Facebook page when the latest bills rolled in. 

Jen Minotto posted: “Our last one was $476, the one I received the other day was $1078, I’m so angry.” Vicki Price said: “Yep our last bill with 8 weeks of visitors was $1200, this bill is $1600. “I think it’s time to move home, living in the NT is just too expensive.” 

The Power and Water Corporation was split into electricity generation and retail companies on July 1, 2014. Electricity bills now come from Jacana Energy. Jacana Energy boss Stuart Pearce said energy consumption in the Top End was higher in the Wet. “There are many reasons why bills can be a bit higher at this time of year following the build-up or the festive season and each little addition to energy consumption adds up,” Mr Pearce said. “The Territory is one of the highest users of electricity, but enjoy one of the lowest rates in the country.”