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SA to have world's highest power prices: energy expert

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South Australian homes will soon be paying the highest electricity prices in the world, an energy market consultant says.

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Bruce Mountain, from economics consultancy group CME, says SA will overtake Denmark on Saturday when electricity retailers hit most households with an average rise of 18 per cent.

“My estimate is that the representative household in South Australia is paying a price that is a little bit higher than the representative household in Denmark or elsewhere and Denmark is known to be the highest,” Mountain told ABC radio on Wednesday.

South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill says the government didn’t necessarily share Mountain’s analysis.

“But what he’s effectively saying is, electricity prices are too high and that’s why we have our energy plan,” the premier told reporters.

“We have a broken energy market and that’s why we’re taking steps to smash up the power company monopolies.

“Over the last decade, the absence of a coherent national energy policy has meant a small number of power companies have been screwing South Australians to the wall.”

Weatherill says the government’s plan, which includes additional gas-fired generating capacity and battery storage for renewable energy, will bring much-needed competition to the market and put downward pressure on prices.

“South Australia will go from having some of the highest energy costs in the nation to actually having some of the lowest,” he said.

In the meantime, households are facing big price hikes from July 1, both for electricity and gas, and Mountain says the market is not currently acting in the interests of consumers.

“The issues are deeply set and change needs to happen in so many areas,” he said.

To cut costs, households need to actively monitor usage, monitor the market and obtain a good understanding of the volumes of power they use, Mountain said.

– AAP

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