The impending closure of Victoria’s Hazelwood Power Station will affect electricity prices in Tasmania.
Hazelwood, a 1600 megawatt coal-fired power station situated in the Latrobe Valley, will close before the end of March, reducing energy supply across the national market.
Energy Minister Matthew Groom said recent price movements were a “consequence” of Hazelwood’s looming closure, as were gas shortages.
Medium-sized Tasmanian businesses, in particular, are likely to feel the Hazelwood squeeze.
Because they pay over $30,000 per annum for electricity, medium-sized businesses enter into forward contracts with their retailers, which are more at the whim of the national market than are regulated prices - like those paid by households and small businesses.
Goanna Energy Consulting principal consultant Marc White said the effects of Hazelwood’s closure were already being felt, even though it was still operating.
“The news around the closure of Hazelwood … has created significant volatility in the market,” he said.
While Mr White said TasNetworks’ changes to tariff structures for regulated electricity pricing – which come into effect on July 1 - would be friendlier on homeowners’ and businesses’ hip-pockets, he qualified this by saying that Hazelwood’s closure, along with other market factors, had the potential to negate such savings.
A spokesperson for Hydro Tasmania said post-Hazelwood power prices in Victoria would not necessarily increase Hydro’s exports of surplus hydroelectricity.
Greens energy spokeswoman Rosalie Woodruff said the new electricity tariff structures in Tasmania were “bad for people on low incomes [and] good for business”.
Opposition Leader Bryan Green took a similar tack, saying tariff reforms would “hit small and medium businesses hard”.
TasNetworks’ scrapping of tariff 41, which offered discounts on household hot water consumption, was particularly contentious.