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Households bracing for more energy, petrol pain

The cost of building a large-scale nuclear power plant in Australia would be at least $8.5 billion, according to the CSIRO and the energy market operator.

The cost of building a large-scale nuclear power plant in Australia would be at least $8.5 billion, according to the CSIRO and the energy market operator. Photo: AAP

Many Australian households are bracing for more power price pain even as they take steps to adapt their behaviour to use less electricity.

Energy prices have been lifting sharply to reflect higher wholesale prices and, according to Canstar Blue’s database of electricity plans, the average quarterly bill is likely to go up by $29 to $395.

A survey of more than 2300 customers by the comparison site found almost three-quarters were paying higher rates for electricity than in June.

Roughly the same proportion of customers had taken action to keep their power costs down by using energy more conservatively or switching to a cheaper plan.

Even though many households were taking action to reduce their power costs, 50 per cent were expecting a bigger bill than their last.

Canstar Blue editor-in-chief Christine Seib said the growth in electricity prices should be viewed in the context of other cost-of-living pressures.

“That’s a new financial strain that’ll be felt by a big group of electricity consumers this month,” she said.

Electricity prices as tracked by the Australian Bureau of Statistics have been growing strongly on an annual basis, up 12.7 per cent in the 12 months to August.

The bureau said government energy bill relief had been taking the sting out of electricity price growth, with the indicator actually recording a decline over the month.

Households are also battling higher prices at the pump as oil prices move up.

The national average retail petrol price clocked in at just over $2 a litre last week, according to Australian Institute of Petroleum data.

Oil prices have been moving higher again on fears the Israel‑Hamas conflict could expand, rising above $US90 a barrel on Friday.

Volatility has been triggered by reports over the weekend that Iran, a major oil producer, will respond if Israel proceeds with its planned ground invasion into Gaza.

Commonwealth Bank commodities expert Vivek Dhar said there was a chance oil prices could move above $US100 a barrel if Iran-backed militant groups became involved and multiple war fronts opened up.

He said the impact on oil prices would be more muted if Israel quickly dismantles Hamas and withdraws quickly.

“Oil is particularly vulnerable to a surge in prices given the hefty fall in global oil stockpiles already,” he added.

– AAP

Topics: energy
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