Low-income earners struggle with energy price hikes

Low-income earners struggle as energy prices soar. Source: Tristan Ferne via Flickr.

Low-income earners struggle as energy prices soar. Source: Tristan Ferne via Flickr.

SARAH ROHWEDER

The Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) has released a new report that suggests low-income households are struggling with the cost of electricity.

The report urges government intervention to assist low-income homeowners in becoming more actively engaged in their energy consumption.

ACOSS Senior Policy Officer Andrea Pape said energy affordability should be a primary focus in the upcoming election.

“Energy efficiency should be a key policy response to address the impacts of rising energy prices yet we’ve heard little mention of it in the current political debates about cost of living pressures and energy affordability,” she said.

“People on low incomes are particularly feeling the burden of rising energy prices, but they lack the capital for energy efficiency upgrades and are more likely to own inefficient appliances.

“We urge all sides of politics to commit to action on this important front.”

Ms Pape said although there were policies already in place, they would not benefit low-income earners in the long term.

“Government and industry programs have to date largely targeted people on low incomes with behavior change and minor retrofits to help reduce electricity costs,” she said.

“While these programs are beneficial, they need to be complemented with measures that deliver over long term.

“We need to build the safety and resilience of our housing stock, and we need to start with the most vulnerable households first.

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