Households in the dark

Households in the Dark
Households in the Dark
In 2016, a project, funded by Energy Consumers Australia and undertaken by The St Vincent de Paul Society and Alviss Consulting Pty Ltd, analysed and mapped approximately 200,000 electricity disconnections for non-payment in South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales and South East Queensland between July 2012 and July 2015.

As the purpose of this project was to explore when, where and why households are disconnected from electricity, rather than a single retailer’s disconnection practices, the data set has been normalised.

The report includes maps and data tracking the frequency of disconnections at various times of the year, lending to commentary on whether weather driven consumption plays a role.

Other maps and data detail which postcodes incur the most number of disconnections.

“Electricity disconnections and energy exclusion are a growing problem that is entrenching poverty and hardship across Australia”
St Vincent de Paul National Council CEO Dr John Falzon

The report’s recommendations are directed at energy policy makers and energy regulators at state and Commonwealth level, which include:

  • Scaling up energy efficiency programs targeting low-income households, particularly those in private rental properties and social and public housing.
  • Strengthening regulatory protections for low-income and vulnerable households, including wrongful disconnection payments by retailers who do not follow the required processes when cutting off customers from their electricity supply.
  • Improving the adequacy and targeting of energy concessions.
  • Increased social security payments for households needing to be lifted out of poverty.
  • Education programs that inform households about concession arrangements, access to energy retailer hardship programs, relief schemes and other relevant support measures, including information on how to navigate the energy retail market, by shopping around for the best deal.

This model that being developed in NE Victoria is one the Riverina should, in our opinion, also be pursuing. It is important to have a coordinated approach involving all communities working with Essential Energy and other key players to ensure an ordered transition to a renewable and more sustainable future. While in the process ensuring the most vulnerable in our communities are not left behind.

Keep in mind that rural southern NSW and northern Victoria both have very high rates of disconnection from the electricity network.

read Households in the dark »

There is a short 2 page Media Release and the full 111 page report.