Residents missing power bill payments

POWER bill shock is forcing changes in the industry with one in eight households missing an electricity payment because they can't afford it.

An Ernst and Young survey into households across regional and metro markets in Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland found customers were increasingly determined to switch electricity retailers.

Nearly one in three Australians missed an electricity bill payment in the past 12 months, while more than one in 10 had missed more than three payments.

The proportion of customers worried about being able to pay their electricity bill has remained consistently high at 70% in the past two years.

One in 10 respondents said energy bills caused them the most stress at the moment.

However customers surveyed would be more likely to pay their bills on time with discount incentives (55%) access to real time online usage information (44%) and monthly billing (30%).

It also found 90% of Australians have, or would consider including, solar in their home energy mix.

With the carbon tax repeal taken into account, electricity prices increased by 5.1% or $72 for the average residential customer this financial year.

The average household can expect to save about $105 with the removal of the carbon tax.

Meanwhile the State Government announced it planned to go to the election with a promise to permanently remove the cost of the Solar Bonus Scheme from electricity prices, saving the average household $577 on their power bills over the next five years.

Premier Campbell Newman said the $3.4 billion Strong Choices Cost of Living Fund would be used to ensure Queenslanders no longer had to subsidise the cost of solar usage through their power bills.

"If given a mandate to act on our Strong Choices lease plan, we will have the funds available to take 6 per cent off electricity prices in 2015-16," he said.

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