PRIME Minister Julia Gillard will launch an attack on the states today over soaring power prices, barely a month after her own price-inflating carbon tax began.
And she will use the latest figures to back up her argument - which show household power bills have increased by a staggering 62.4 per cent in South Australia over the past four years, adding $1086 in expenses to the average bill before the carbon price even kicked in.
That equals the second highest jump along with Western Australia, but is less than the 69.2 per cent hike in New South Wales since 2008-09.
Ms Gillard will say the burden on households from her carbon price will add a comparatively small $115 to that pain this financial year.
In a bold square-up to state governments who she says have too often benefited from revenue increases from electricity prices, she will claim the states are doing very well out of the misery of households and declare it simply cannot continue.
"Power bills have become the new petrol prices: not just an essential of life that always seems to be going up, but a vital commodity, where what we consume each day, or pay every quarter, seems far beyond our control," she will say in the address to the Energy Policy Institute of Australia.
"Prices have gone up - have gone up far and fast."
Government figures show the conservative-run states of NSW, Queensland and WA, where network services remain state-owned, have experienced windfall gains in revenue including 60 per cent growth for NSW, 16 per cent for Queensland, and almost 200 per cent growth for WA since 2009-10.
"Following the recent round of price increases, revenue for enterprises wholly owned by State Governments is up 50 per cent over the previous five-year period," she will say.
"This was in a period when revenue for the rest of the market players grew less than 30 per cent ... for too long, some state governments have been increasing their revenue at the expense of the family electricity bill - that has to stop.
"Australia did not need nearly 50 per cent price increases for households over the last four years and Australians can't afford the same kinds of increases over the next four years.
"It's a huge cost to our economy and it's a threat to fairness in our society."