Steeper bills to hit close to home

HUNTER households face steep price rises in power, gas and other bills from tomorrow but the federal government says most will receive payments to offset cost increases stemming from the carbon tax.

The government says six million of the country's nine million households will have their average cost increases covered by tax cuts, increased payments or both.

Power bills will take the biggest hit, with EnergyAustralia bills to increase 20 per cent under the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal's most recent determination.

The increase is due in part to the carbon tax and the cost of renewable energy schemes, as well as heavy spending to upgrade the power network.

Taxpayers with incomes up to $80,000 will get a tax cut, most of at least $300.

Average household expenditure is set to rise by $9.90 a week, including $3.30 on electricity, $1.50 on gas and less than $1 on food.

But Labor says households will receive $10.10 a week, on average, in compensation.

Initial household payments started in May.

In NSW, public housing rents are set to increase through what the federal government has called a cash grab by the O'Farrell government for a slice of carbon tax compensation payments.

Single pensioners will receive $338 a year in payments.

NSW Community Services minister Pru Goward said the carbon rebates would be counted as part of a tenant's income when calculating their social housing rents.

Most tenants would pay an extra dollar or two a week from March.

But the federal government said the rebates were to help people cope with rising electricity bills and should not be considered general income. with AAP

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