As electricity prices skyrocket, switching to gas could save Wagga families money

Wagga families looking to save money on soaring power prices are turning to gas as the lesser of two evils.

According to Australian Gas Networks (AGN), the country’s largest gas distribution business, from July 1, retail electricity prices in Wagga increased by an average of 19 per cent, while prices for natural gas rose by a loower eight per cent.

AGN says household could save up to $860 a year by using natural gas instead of electricity to fuel hot water service systems.

AGN has undertaken some cost comparisons to provide some clarity to consumers following the price increases.

This comes as provider AGL Energy reported an annual profit of $539 million and predicted an even better year ahead on the back of rising wholesale energy prices and improving gas market conditions.

Wagga mum Adrienne Vietch had long planned to replace her home’s electric hot water service with gas, based on past experiences.

She felt it would be more efficient and, after watching her power bills rise over the past two quarters, cheaper to run.

“I guess I’ll have to wait until the first gas bill arrives to see just how much cheaper it is,” Ms Vietch said.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Wednesday called power companies bosses to Canberra this morning for a meeting to direct them to do more to help people with their bills.

The PM has called for action from energy retailers to make sure people know what the bill will be after a discount period ends, as a report by the Energy Markets Commission found consumers were paying more than they need to, partly because they do not get these details.

Comparing the costs associated with running a household hot water service, AGN’s new figures show that an average family already using natural gas for cooking or heating could save up to  $860 by converting an existing electric hot water system to a natural gas appliance, while a couple in the same situation could save about $4705 a year.

According to AGN, an average family with no natural gas appliances could save about $510.

A couple in the same situation, the saving is about $115 annually.

These figures do not take into account the cost of replacing an electric hot water service with gas, which would be about $1800, without any rebates.