Aussies face power price quandary

Would the average Australian be willing to sacrifice the reliability of their power supply in exchange for cheaper prices?

This is a question that many people are currently asking themselves and it is hard to assess what the right answer is – if there is one at all.

According to new research conducted by the Energy Supply Association of Australia (ESAA), the supply of electricity to homes across the country is three-times more reliable than landline phone services and 200-times better than mobile phone connections, the Daily Telegraph reports.

Currently, the flow of power is only interrupted for one hour every year, but this superb service is coming at a cost.

A lot of electricity companies have suggested that Aussies have come to expect a certain level of service and this is forcing them to raise prices.

However, some households are really struggling financially at the moment and a lot of people are having to dig into their savings accounts in order to cover the rising cost of everyday essentials.

There have been calls from some quarters for reliability standards to be relaxed slightly so that power providers can lower their rates.

"The challenge here is to get the right balance between onerous reliability standards which have an unnecessary impact on power bills, and rules and standards which underestimate the amount of energy we might need," the paper stated.

New South Wales is said to have the most efficient electricity network in the country and power bills have risen by 70 per cent in the last five years.

A recent Australian Energy Market Commission study indicated that as many as 60 per cent of households would be willing to suffer more frequent blackouts if it meant their power was more affordable.

The organisation published its Power of Choice draft report earlier this month, which looked at ways to make the electricity market more flexible and customer-friendly.

It was well received by ESAA chief executive officer Matthew Warren, who insisted that people need to have more control over their energy usage.

"If we get these reforms right then we can make energy more affordable," he remarked.

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