A new report, released today, shows that on average, households in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia stand to save $300 to $420 a year in electricity bills if the federal government implements a fair regulated retail price.
The report by the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS), and the Brotherhood of St Laurence, Affordable, clean energy for people on low incomes also shows that some households across Australia could save between $290 and $1,139 a year in bills with investment in energy efficiency.
ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie said, “While it’s great to consistently hear that the government wants to reduce electricity prices, concrete actions need to be put in place to ensure bills reduce.
“The Morrison Government is already working on a regulated retail price, this is an essential first step, but it needs to be a fair price.”
Brotherhood of St Laurence Executive Director Conny Lenneberg said: “Our analysis shows that a fair regulated retail price would reduce energy bills for those on bad offers by hundreds of dollars a year.
“Households in New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and South-East Queensland, where there is no state regulated retail price[i], would save on average between $300 and $436 a year if a regulated price is properly implemented, and over $1000 annually for certain households.
“These significant savings for low income families would take pressure off meeting other essential expenses like heating, housing and food.”
|Average savings per household of a fair, national regulated retail price in jurisdictions without an existing regulated retail price|
|State/territory||NSW||Vic||South East QLD||SA||ACT|
|Average savings per household||$378.0||$436.2||$306.5||$411.8||$261.6|
Dr Goldie continued: “While the government has promised a national regulated retail price, it has not done enough in implementing other key policy measures that would make a big difference to electricity bills while acting on climate change.
“Our report finds that government investment in energy efficiency for houses and apartments would generate savings in electricity bills that over time would be higher than the original investment.
“For example, a $5,000 investment by government in energy efficiency for houses would save up to $929 per year in electricity bills, paying off the government’s original investment in savings to the household over less than five years. A mandatory energy efficiency standard on rental properties could provide greater savings, up to $1,139 per year.”
“It’s crucial we find ways to achieve a faster transition to clean energy. Government investment in energy efficiency will reduce both carbon emissions and bills for people on low incomes.” Dr Goldie said.
Conny Lenneberg said, “We know electricity bills are having the biggest impact on low income households, which have to spend about four times has much as high income households, as a proportion of their overall income, on electricity bills.
“Through our work we know that many people are struggling because of high energy bills. Too many people suffer without heating in winter and effective cooling in summer just so they can afford to pay their energy bills.
“We’ve found at the Brotherhood of St Laurence that when we help low-income households install energy efficient appliances for hot water, heating and cooling, the benefits are almost immediate – lower bills, a healthier home and reduction in carbon emissions.
“We need large-scale ongoing energy efficiency and solar programs for all residents on low incomes, whether they live in their own homes, or in social and community housing or rent privately, so that all benefit regardless of their financial circumstances,” said Ms Lenneberg.
ACOSS CEO Cassandra Goldie said: “The report confirms that raising Newstart, the payment for people looking for paid work, and improving energy concessions, would go a long way to ensuring that people living below the poverty line don’t have to go without food or other staples when they get their electricity bill.
ACOSS Senior Energy Advisor Kellie Caught and Brotherhood of St Laurence head of Energy, Equity and Climate Change Damian Sullivan are available for comment.