THE federal government has been accused of taking a “wrecking ball” to the economy with its carbon tax, after it was revealed household power bills in NSW could balloon by up to $380 a year.
The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) yesterday recommended an average price hike of 16 per cent across NSW.
The draft determination said half of the rise was due to the carbon tax, while the other half will pay for the rising costs of the network's poles and wires.
“This is a tax on the battlers, this is a wrecking ball on the economy,” NSW Energy Minister Chris Hartcher said yesterday.
“Both households and small businesses will be devastated by the proposed price rises, estimated to add $182 to $381 to the average household bill.”
The Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) said rural and regional customers would be the hardest hit.
Member for Calare John Cobb said July 1 would mark the start of tougher times for household budgets.
“This is a big hit on households and my concern is that it is only the first wave of price increases that will flow from the carbon tax,” he said.
“Households will pay again as councils, schools, cafes, butchers, bakers, restaurants, dry cleaners and supermarkets all pass on their own price increases.
“These prices will go up and up as the carbon tax goes up and up.
“This is one of the biggest electricity shocks ever and it makes a mockery of Julia Gillard’s claim that her carbon tax will only increase prices by 0.7 per cent.
“The carbon tax is based on a lie - and from July1 we will all be paying for it.”
Of the state's 3.2 million energy customers, Mr Hartcher said 900,000 “lower income families” would receive state government rebates to help fund the cost of the carbon tax.
"The message out to Julia Gillard is this: If you want to help the battlers of this state, if you want to help the mums and dads and the families who are going to have to pay more because of soaring power prices - you can,” he said.
“And you can do that by simply stopping the carbon tax.”