Thousands will be hit by another hike in gas bills

NSW residents are in for more cost of living pain as two major energy retailers are increasing their natural gas tariffs.

Origin Energy and AGL are both raising gas prices for residential and small business customers, blaming high wholesale costs for the change.

Approximately 200,000 Origin customers on standard retail and variable market contracts will see an increase in costs from February 1.

The average NSW residential customer will see prices rise by about 8.1 per cent or approximately $90 per year.

Camera IconA global gas shortage worsened by the war in Ukraine have seen prices skyrocket. NCA Newswire /Gaye Gerard Credit: News Corp Australia

Origin’s small business customers can expect an average increase of 10.5 per cent or $579 per year.

Origin’s executive general manager for retail Jon Briskin blamed the global gas shortage for the increase in costs.

“Increasing prices is never a decision we take lightly, especially at the moment when we know some people are struggling with higher costs of living,” Mr Briskin said.

“Like all retailers, we have been facing materially high gas costs over recent months caused by the war in Ukraine which has put pressure on global gas supplies, which means it costs us more to supply gas to our customers.”

AGL will also increase gas prices for customers with variable rate contracts in NSW, Victoria, Queensland and South Australia today.

NSW customers will see an average rise of 9.0 per cent in their next bill, or around $78 per year.

Camera IconAGL is seeing prices in crease by an average of 9.0 per cent for their next bill. NCA NewsWire /Brendan Beckett Credit: News Corp Australia

“As one of Australia’s largest energy retailers, AGL carefully considers the wholesale cost of gas as well as our own cost movements to determine the outcome for our gas standing offer and variable rate market contract customers,” an AGL spokesperson said.

“Any decision to change prices is based on a detailed consideration of a range of factors including wholesale prices, network charges and market conditions and the value we offer to customers.”

Surging prices pushed the federal government to intervene in the sector in late 2022, capping new wholesale contracts from gas suppliers to retailers like Origin and AGL at $12 a gigajoule for 12 months.

The controversial action was taken after last year’s federal budget found households could be expected to pay a 56 per cent increase in power bills over the next two years if prices continued to rise as they had at the end of 2022.

Both retailers urged customers who are struggling to pay their energy and gas bills to reach out as soon as possible.

“To help protect people who can least afford any price increases, we will invest at least $20m to support customers in our Power On program this financial year including offsetting any price increases to make sure they won’t be impacted,” Mr Briskin said.

Meanwhile, Victorians will be hit with an even higher price hike, with those on variable contracts to see their bill skyrocket by an average 24.9 per cent or $304 per year.

Queenslanders are set to experience a 5.0 per cent increase equating to $40 per year and South Australians saw costs rise by 6.2 per cent or $56 per year.

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