QUEENSLAND households will be penalised with higher power prices for keeping their air-conditioners off over summer.

The state’s electricity price regulator, the Queensland Competition Authority, has announced a 6.6 per cent increase in power prices from July 1.

Utility workers

The increase will add $120 to the average bill of households already under pressure from an array of cost increases.

Power prices have now soared by more than 60 per cent since the State Government promised deregulation of the industry in the southeast would put downward pressure on prices.

Almost 80 per cent of the increase was blamed on growing network costs, the price passed on to consumers for building and maintaining the power system to cope with increasing demand.

However, lower than expected power consumption over the disaster-affected summer meant distributors did not recoup their investment costs.

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