Kalaru man demands power bill carbon accountability

THE quest of Andrew McPherson to find out the true price of the carbon tax on his electricity bill has finally come to an end. 

“I have to say I nearly gave up, when the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), the Electricity Ombudsman and IPART (Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal) can’t or won’t help you, you start to wonder why you are bothering,” the Kalaru man said.

“But after changing to a supplier that does itemise it – the only one who does – and finding out the true price of carbon per kilowatt hour from them I feel vindicated and glad that I didn’t stop pursuing this.”

However, while Mr McPherson’s fight is over, he still worries that electricity supplies will overcharge their customers unless they question the charge. 

His odyssey started last year when he questioned the true price of the carbon tax on his electricity bill from Origin/Country Energy (BDN, 26/7/13).

He queried a note on his bill that stated “NSW Govt estimates that Federal carbon tax and green energy schemes add about $316 a year to a typical 7MWh household bill – see ipart.nsw.gov.”

Mr McPherson queried why this wasn’t broken down on an itemised bill so he could see exactly how much carbon tax cost him per bill. 

“I’ve never tried to dodge the carbon tax as I actually believe in it and I want people to reduce their usage for the benefit of the environment.

“My beef is against electricity retailers price gouging.”

Origin/Country Energy refused to itemise the carbon tax/green energy amount and Mr McPherson discovered most other energy retailer also didn’t itemise it. 

He took his concerns to the ACCC, the Electricity Ombudsman and IPART, as well as the Member for Bega Andrew Constance. 

None of parties he approached could tell him exactly what the kWh price of carbon was or why it wasn’t itemised. 

Mr McPherson eventually found one retailer, Momentum, which would itemise the price of carbon on a bill.

Through them he was able to access documents from the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO), which listed the price of carbon applied to electricity retailers as 2.2588 cents per kWh.

“Everyone should be armed with this figure and calculate the cost so they can go to their electricity retailer and demand accountability.

“If the tax is repealed this year, will the price of our bills drop?

“I very much doubt it.

“Why were the ACCC, the ombudsman and IPART unable to tell me about AEMO? 

“Are they that incompetent or is there something else going on?

“My message would be, don’t give up hounding your retailer - find out how much you are really paying in carbon charges.”

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