Rising electricity prices firmly established themselves as a political hot potato again this week, with the release of the Australian Energy Market Commission’s report connecting the closure of Victoria’s Hazelwood brown coal generator with higher power bills up and down the nation’s east coast.
Dubious modelling methods aside, the resulting mainstream media reports confidently added dollar amounts to the future electricity bills of the nation’s households: $99 in Victoria; $74 in NSW; $204 in Tasmania; $150 in South Australia; $46 in the ACT; and $28 in Queensland.
On average, the hikes to power bills would cost Australians $78 more a year, the headlines told us, while Coalition politicians tut-tutted about high state-based renewable energy targets pushing out cheap coal.
But what, exactly, is the consumer cost of closing one of the world’s dirtiest power plants? In the below letter to The Age newspaper, published on Thursday, Andrea Bunting – a member of the community not-for-profit group Climate Action Moreland – offers some much needed perspective on the matter.
But there’s more perspective where that came from. According to the federal government’s own Your Energy Savings website, the following “simple actions” could save a household of four about $825 over the course of a year:
– Getting rid of the second fridge, if you’ve got one, could save around $172 a year;
– Switching off the game console after use could save up to $193 a year;
– Using the clothesline once a week instead of using the dryer could save around $79 a year;
– Installing a water-efficient showerhead could save you up to $380 a year on energy AND water.
Now those are some numbers with punch.