The Australian Energy Regulator today issued its draft decision for Country Energy's Wagga Wagga gas distribution network for the period 1 July 2010 to 30 June 2015.
The Wagga Wagga gas distribution network provides gas to 18 600 customers.
The AER proposes to approve an average increase in network charges of 17 per cent for all users as at 1 July 2010. As a result, gas prices for retail customers are expected to increase by about 12 per cent.
Network charges for retail customers will increase on average by four per cent in real terms in the subsequent years of the access arrangement. This increase is partly explained by higher commercial debt costs because of the global financial crisis, the cost of unaccounted for gas and the impact of capital expenditure from the earlier access arrangement period.
"The AER has approved a capital expenditure program of $18 million over the next five years. This represents an increase in expenditure of 19 per cent over the earlier access arrangement period and also explains some of the increase in tariffs in the access arrangement period," AER chairman Steve Edwell said today. "Half is for meter replacement and refurbishment of aging infrastructure and the rest relates to capital expenditure for new customer connections."
In making its draft decision, the AER took into account advice from independent experts. These documents will be available on the AER's website.
Country Energy can provide a revised access arrangement proposal to the AER by 6 January 2010. Submissions on the AER's draft decision and any revised access arrangement proposal can be made by 12 February 2010. The AER is expecting to make its final decision in early April 2010.