KIM BOOTH www.tas.greens.org.au

The Tasmanian Greens today accused successive State Labor Government’s of bungling Tasmania’s energy strategy and being responsible for the rocketing price of electricity in the state, after Aurora Energy yesterday revealed that they are again seeking to increase Tasmanian power prices, this time by between seven and fifteen percent.

Greens Energy spokesperson Kim Booth MP said this price rise will add to the many cost-of-living rises now facing Tasmanians, hitting battling Tasmanian families particularly hard, and called on the Bartlett Government to ensure that concessions for electricity are increased by the same rate as this price rise to avoid any erosion of their current value.

Mr Booth also said that the Office of the Energy Regulator indicated that a price rise of four percent was fair, and queried why Aurora is seeking so much more than the regulator’s suggestion, especially in the business sector where Aurora is seeking a rise of more than fifteen percent.

“Labor’s Basslink blunder is costing consumers a whacking $92 million per year just to rent the cable and it is this massive annual liability that is driving Aurora’s need for steep power price hikes. If that $92 million had been invested into new generation assets and energy conservation measures every year for 25 years, the people of Tasmania would be facing price decreases, not increases,” said Mr Booth.

“Why won’t the electricity concession rise at the same rate as these price hikes? This is eroding the value of these concessions and hurting the most vulnerable Tasmanian families.”

“A 15 percent rise for small business is also outrageous – just how are small Tasmanian businesses expected to compete interstate and overseas when they are forced to pay some of the highest electricity charges in the nation?”

“Consumers need to think of Labor incompetence as they pay their increased power bills.”

“The Bartlett Government’s policies are about to result in increased power prices, increased rates charges, increased insurance charges, and a brand new water and sewerage bill for all Tasmanians. Labor is now gouging Tasmanians because of its own failure to manage an effective energy strategy, or to budget for the hard times,” said Mr Booth.