Energy market volatility and uncertainty have flowed down to Canberra consumers, with retailer ActewAGL attempting to manage a "bad" cycle of price increases while the government pushes toward its 100 per cent renewables target.
ActewAGL chief executive John Knox instantly regretted what he described as a "bad" situation, but there's no hiding the fact that Canberra consumers are facing sizeable price hikes in their power costs this winter after the independent regulator's approval of increases.
The standing price, without a negotiated offer, will lift retail power prices as much as 11.95 per cent, or about $15 a month for the average Canberra household.
Increased network costs of nearly 37 per cent, according to the Independent Competition and Regulatory Commission, are the primary reason for ActewAGL's retail price rises.
The ACT pays a "contract for difference" price for renewable energy. This year that arrangement lifted the contract price from $42 million to $127 million.
As the ACT government rushes to lead the country in a complete switch to renewable energy, the latest market volatility appears to have surprised even ActewAGL's experienced modellers and forecasters.
"I wish I could tell you what is going to happen [with retail energy pricing] moving forward," ActewAGL boss John Knox said.
"I can give you an indication on network charges; I think we've got a reasonable line of sight for the next 18 months. But beyond that ..."
He said the recently approved standing offer price of power was not necessarily the price consumers had to pay, and urged people to contact the retailer to see what deals were available.
Another of the government's emissions-reduction projects, locked in through a Greens-Labor power-sharing political accord, is its support for making Canberra the "electric vehicle capital of Australia".
That aspiration has received a further boost with ActewAGL signing a deal with charging network specialist Evie Networks, which is closely allied to Queensland charger company Tritium, to spread its bowser-like chargers around the ACT and beyond.
This offers the opportunity for ActewAGL to keep its branding visible while handing the network rollout functions to a specialist.
Evie's national access platform will include the backing of a dedicated 24/7 call centre, field response capacity, and proactive identification and response to charger issues.
ActewAGL is currently developing in-home and commercial charging solutions to be bundled with new electricity plans.
The complication around network-dedicated cards and charging systems is solved through a QR code, which can be read from the charging station and which activates it.
Evie is looking to install Tritium's fastest 350kW chargers wherever it can. Customers using these premium fast chargers can expect to pay around 60 cents per Kilowatt hour for a recharge.
The government has already committed $2.6 million commitment over four years to install 50 publicly accessible charging stations, but this deal, says Evie Networks' chief executive Chris Mills, is independent of that.
"This is a commercial opportunity to work with ActewAGL and grow our charging network," Mr Mills said.
Much like the commercial pressures oil companies experienced decades ago, electric vehicle charging network operators such as Evie and Chargefox are now jockeying to secure the best locations ahead of what is seen as a fast-rising take-up of electric vehicles in the next few years.
Evie Networks sits under the same corporate umbrella as the local importer of BYD, the Chinese electric bus and car maker.
Meanwhile, ActewAGL is lining up with other interested stakeholders to wait on detail of the ACT's next key incentive, the promised $15,000 interest-free loan to support the sustainable household scheme.
More than 4000 people have expressed interest.