Power system inefficiencies are costing Aussies dear

Mozo

Thursday 09 August 2012

No Australian is immune to the economic turmoil that has been affecting the world since 2008. Granted Australia has weathered the financial storm relatively well, but many people are still struggling to make ends meet and keep their savings accounts topped up.

Power system inefficiencies are costing Aussies dear

One of the biggest concerns among Aussies is the rising cost of energy. Electricity prices have been spiralling – much as they have in other parts of the world – and with rising demand from China pushing up the cost of raw materials, it doesn't look like the cost of keeping the lights on is going to fall anytime soon.

There are a number of proposals on the table to help slash the cost of electricity – but the most controversial surely has to be increasing the number of blackouts in the country.

According to industry experts, billions of dollars are invested in ensuring that the electricity distribution grid is reliable. But if the reliability targets were reduced, savers could see their energy bills fall. That's according to the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC).

The AEMC states that $11 billion is invested in energy infrastructure to stop blackouts at peak periods. However, if reliability of the network was reduced – resulting in two minutes more blackouts a year – the energy industry would save $231 million a year. Savings which could, theoretically, be passed on to working families. This would amount to some $2.5 billion over the next 15 years.

Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, UTS's Institute for Sustainable Futures research director Chris Dunstan claimed that it was time for a rethink of energy infrastructure investment.

"We're currently investing more than is cost effective in network infrastructure and generation infrastructure," he told the news provider.

Thousands of Australian households have already signed up to the People Power petition in protest against high energy bills, so it is possible that many people would opt for a lower-quality energy service if it meant keeping their outgoings down.

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