Power prices rise as temperatures soar
SWELTERING households in NSW are paying more than a third extra for their daily electricity needs during the heatwave as cranking airconditioners increase demand on the grid.
The pressure was further intensified because the sweltering conditions failed to fire up wind farms, which met just 4.2 per cent of the national demand in the past three days - a 40 per cent drop on their average contribution.
NSW was forced to import power from Queensland and Victoria to keep prices down while supply was stretched thin.
On Thursday morning demand in NSW was forecast to reach almost 14,000MW for the day - about 50 per cent higher than the 9600MW average. And it is tipped to be even higher on Friday.
Analysis obtained by The Daily Telegraph reveals this week's soaring temperatures could increase an average customer's electricity cost by around $2 a day - increasing it from $5 to more than $7 for each day since Monday.
Energy Australia chief customer officer Chris Ryan said the relatively new, mid-sized reverse-cycle airconditioners typically cost 50 to 70 cents per hour to run.
He said to keep the cost down, households shouldn't set the temperatures too low: "Try starting at 26C - every 1C lower increases the cost by around 10 per cent."
Wholesale power prices peaked at more than $200MW/h on Wednesday, more than double the January average of $100MW/h.
This cost does not directly flow on to households, but instead forms part of the costs considered by retailers when setting residential contract prices for 2019-20.
Nationally, wholesale prices have fallen by 17 per cent in the past year and are expected to fall further as new generation comes online.
The Morrison government will attempt to pass its "big stick" legislation when parliament resumes next month, which would force power companies to pass on wholesale savings to customers in full or face penalties.
A spokeswoman for the Australian Energy Market Operator - which runs the national grid - said sharing power across state borders helped to "ensure the ongoing secure and reliable operation" of the network.
"We are closely monitoring the situation this week and will be proactive."