Rising energy prices hurt us all, but mostly people experiencing poverty and disadvantage. As does climate change. At the moment Australia is addressing neither of these issues, which we need to change.
Those with the least suffer the most from unnecessary rises in energy costs. Some families are forced to go without basic needs like heating and food, or don’t send their kids on school excursions, just to pay the bills. Others have their electricity or gas disconnected, which results in high reconnection costs. Australia can and must do better – energy is an essential service and we must make clean energy available and affordable for all.
To clarify the problem and identify workable solutions, ACOSS, TCI and BSL consulted over 120 community, environment and energy expert stakeholders nationally, through face to face and online consultation forums.
The report recommendations are intended to direct urgent Government attention to critical areas for reform and policy development, while noting other reforms will also be necessary.
Five policy outcomes were identified as necessary to support low-income and disadvantage households as we transition to clean energy, requiring policies to:
- Deliver cheaper clean energy,
- Inform and enable consumers to engage in the electricity market,
- Improve household efficiency and productivity,
- Provide stronger consumer protection, and
- Improve capacity to pay bills.
Within the five outcomes there are clear energy market and non-energy market options to transition to clean energy, reduce electricity prices and relieve the pressure on low income households.
Unless there is a nationally coordinated plan that is inclusive and equitable and has better integration between climate, energy and social policy, vulnerable households will be left behind and further disadvantaged. Its urgent governments act.
Read the the project’s Research Paper by consultant Andrew Nance
For further information contact [email protected]
This project was funded by Energy Consumers Australia Limited as part of its grants process for consumer advocacy projects and research projects for the benefit of consumers of electricity and natural gas.
We would also like to acknowledge the additional support of the Kirby Foundation in enabling us to broaden our engagement and advocacy to maximise outcomes.