ACT power and gas price rises hitting Canberra business bottom lines
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ACT power and gas price rises hitting Canberra business bottom lines

Canberra businesses are hunting for ways to keep electricity costs down as they brace for the impact of power price hikes.

On July 1 the ACT increased retail electricity prices by an average of 18.95 per cent each year, with retail gas prices also rising by an average of 17.3 per cent per year.

XTEK's Philippe Odourd discussed how power price rises would affect his military technology business.

XTEK's Philippe Odourd discussed how power price rises would affect his military technology business. Credit:Sitthixay Ditthavong

Robyn Hendry, the chief executive of the Canberra Business Chamber, said price rises would soon begin to bite the bottom line of local firms.

"In the short term it is very likely that businesses are going to find that their inputs for utilities – energy, water, gas – are going to rise. And that's an issue," she said.

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"It needs to be recognised these costs are increasing, no question.

"Combined with a number of other costs that have been increasing, it will be much harder for businesses."

Philippe Odourd is the managing director of Xtek, a Canberra-based businesses involved in the development of technologies used by the defence force and the Australian Federal Police.

With its head office in Fyshwick and manufacturing operations in South Australia, Mr Odourd said XTek was vulnerable to rising power prices and energy insecurity.

"The manufacturing operations are particularly very energy intensive," he said.

"Our concerns at the moment are around getting the power in the first place, and then thinking about how we pay for that power.

"We aren't in the business of energy but we can at least try to buy it as cheaply as possible."

Ivan Slavic is a director of Xtek and also the chief executive of energy consultancy Energy Action.

He said businesses could keep costs down by shopping around for the best electricity deal and by implementing measures, such as solar power, to become more energy efficient.

"What we are finding is that there is a distinct opportunity for businesses who are willing to shop around," he said.

"People need to apply competitive tension to the market. And they don't.

"It's a bit like getting a kitchen installed. If you only ask one supplier you're not going to get the best price."

Steven Trask is a reporter for The Canberra Times

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