The Government is monitoring its initiative to enable caravan parks in the State's North and Goldfields districts to have access to domestic electricity rates for their tenants.
Centres north of the 26th parallel are eligible for the domestic tariffs, plus the Shires of Meekatharra, Wiluna, Cue, Yalgoo, Mt Magnet, Sandstone, Leonora, Laverton, Menzies, Coolgardie, Kalgoorlie/Boulder and Dundas.
Fuel and Energy Minister Geoff Gallop said today that initial responses indicated that many caravan park residents would enjoy savings on their energy bills of up to six cents per unit.
Major centres such as Karratha and Kalgoorlie appeared to be well-placed to benefit from the Government's initiative, however, some difficulties could require specific attention after a trial period.
For example, the Government was aware that some caravan parks with low occupancy rates could find the domestic rate more expensive. This could result from the daily supply charge of 18.17 cents which was included in the domestic tariff to recover the fixed costs of supplying power and applied to all powered sites.
"We are closely monitoring the effects of supplying electricity at domestic rates to caravan parks in the North and Goldfields," Dr Gallop said.
"The Government recognises that for various reasons caravan park residency is the only choice for many people in our community. The people in the North and the Goldfields have been specifically addressed in this initiative because of their very high energy needs."
Dr Gallop said the impact of air-conditioning in the Pilbara, for example, resulted in average domestic electricity consumption levels that were two and a half to three times greater than the Metropolitan and Great Southern regions.
"Caravan park residents in the North clearly spend a much greater proportion of their income on energy costs than their counterparts in the South-West," the Minister said.
"At the same time, it needs to be acknowledged that the real cost of electricity supplied to businesses at commercial rates has fallen by more than 11 per cent in the past four years.
"The Government is determined that this trend continues and has pledged to lower energy cost by at least 25 per cent in real terms by the year 2000.
"We are closely watching the situation in the North and Goldfields to ensure that as many people as possible can benefit from our initiative to extend domestic electricity rates to caravan parks."