SA businesses paying nation’s highest electricity bills

A new report reveals that South Australian businesses are paying the most annually for electricity of all states and territories.

Jun 15, 2023, updated Jun 15, 2023
Photo: AAP/Bianca De Marchi

Photo: AAP/Bianca De Marchi

The average business in South Australia is paying an annual electricity bill of nearly $8,500 – the dearest in the nation – according to a new report from Energy Consumers Australia.

Based on a consumption rate of 20,000 kWh, businesses in the state are paying marginally more than those in the nation’s capital which has the second most expensive average bill nationally, and $2,650 more than businesses in Victoria where electricity is the cheapest.

Per ECA’s Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Retail Tariff Tracker Report for June 2023, the average national annual electricity bill for small businesses increased by approximately $1,050 – or 18 per cent – between April 2022 and April 2023.

SME gas bills also increased over the 12-month period by $710, representing a 22 per cent increase. The greatest increase for gas prices was in South Australia, where the average bill rose by $970.

Further, the ECA notes that fixed supply charges for electricity have increased in all jurisdictions in Australia, with Western Australians slogged the most for the service at $700 per annum. In South Australia that fee is $470, which is an increase of 23 per cent in the 12 months since April 2022.

Interim ECA CEO Jacqueline Crawshaw said small business owners were bracing for “more pain on the horizon” with energy prices set to continue rising by up to 30 per cent across the country.

“The underlying costs of energy for small businesses in South Australia tend to be higher than many other parts of the country for a variety of reasons, including that the South Australian grid covers a large area with a relatively small population to pay for it,” Crawshaw said.

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The new price data comes after the ECA reported earlier this month that Australian consumers were increasingly worried about being able to afford the rising cost of energy.

In its Energy Consumer Sentiment Survey, the organisation revealed that 52 per cent of Australian households were more concerned about paying their electricity bill than they were a year ago. For small businesses, that proportion is even higher at 59 per cent.

“More needs to be done to empower small business owners and restore confidence that the market is working in their interests,” Crawshaw said.

“Consumer confidence has been falling for some time and the results of the latest Energy Consumer Sentiment Survey tell us that much more needs to be done to empower consumers and restore confidence that the market is working in their interests.”

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