Figures released today have confirmed that the Government is on track to achieve a 25 per cent cut in energy costs by the year 2000.
Fuel and Energy Minister Geoff Gallop said the Energy Policy and Planning Bureau had advised that with the exception of Western Australia, electricity tariffs around the nation were going up.
"In fact while general consumers will pay no more for electricity than they did last year, restructuring of tariffs in the commercial and industrial sectors has meant that these consumers on average will be paying about four per cent less in real terms.
"Overall, the reduction in tariffs has been calculated at 2.75 per cent," Dr Gallop said.
"Energy consumers in New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania and Queensland are facing increases of up to three per cent this financial year."
Dr Gallop said that for the first time in recent history, Western Australia was making big strides in pegging back electricity price differentials with the Eastern States.
The Minister said the figures were a further indication that SECWA was making real progress in reducing its electricity tariffs.
"This year's zero increase followed a two per cent increase last year - the lowest in Australia.
"Productivity within SECWA has doubled since 1986 and there have been significant improvements in business performance and operating efficiency," Dr Gallop said.
"SECWA has also benefited from reduced interest rates and reduced fuel costs and new 'time-of-use' tariffs are delivering actual reductions in power costs to commercial and industrial customers throughout the State.
"A significant factor in these figures is the Government's decision to proceed with the privately owned coal-fired power station which has given SECWA an immediate opportunity to reduce electricity prices by attacking underlying costs such as fuel and labour.
"Achievements in these areas have resulted substantially from negotiations with coal producers and unions in Collie and the coal price reductions and work practice improvements that have been secured.
"The Government remains determined to achieve the cheapest possible electricity prices for the State and is confident of achieving its tariff goal by the year 2000."