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April 22, 2024

ACOSS report calls for action on energy efficiency for low income households

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ACOSSThe Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) is calling in a new report for urgent government action to make energy more affordable for low income households.

The report, Energy Efficiency and People on Low Incomes, identifies a series of measures to empower households to become active participants in controlling their energy use, becoming more actively engaged in the energy market and reducing energy costs.

‘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,’ said ACOSS Senior Policy Officer, Andrea Pape.

‘ACOSS advocates an energy efficiency policy agenda which includes direct investment in building and fixture upgrades as well as incentives to stimulate private landlord investment in energy efficiency measures.

‘These policy proposals are designed to improve the energy efficiency of low income households, including private rental and social housing dwellings. Such investment will improve affordability, climate resilience and health outcomes for current and future building occupants.

‘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.

‘Those in the rental market are also often unable to improve the energy efficiency of rental properties. This has resulted in a lower incidence of insulation in low income housing and tenanted properties.

‘Government and industry programs have to date largely targeted people on low incomes with behaviour change and minor retrofits to help reduce electricity costs. While these programs are beneficial, they need to be complemented by measures that deliver over the long term – particularly investments in building and fixture upgrades.

‘Targeted retrofits of the worst performing social housing where health, climate and hardship risks are greatest should be a high priority. We know that those most at risk from heat waves are low-income people, the elderly and people living with disabilities or health issues.

‘We need to build the safety and resilience of our housing stock, and we need to start with the most vulnerable households first. This is a sensible approach in the current fiscal environment and we urge all sides of politics to commit to action on this important front,’ Ms Pape said.

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1 COMMENT

  1. When the carbon tax came in – it was the perfect opportunity for Energy Companies to “print their own money”. Companies like AGL and Origin http://www.fool.com.au/2012/11/20/complaints-spike-as-energy-prices-soar/ mentioned in the 43% increase of complaints in the NSW Energy Ombudsman reports continue to defraud Australians. Prime examples such as never checking meter box and averaging consumption of the most rich prolific user of energy in the street where quarterly bills jump from a staggering $600 for a 2 bedroom non mod con 2 bedroom pensioners house to $1700 for the next bill. These pensioners have committed to a regular payment cant be disconnected BUT are constantly behind the 8 ball as these energy companies swindle people out of their money. The energy ombudsman is so snowed under with complaints that low income and people on Centrelink payments give up. In NSW Barry OFarrell has done nothing to help consumers and has even cut giving out energy vouchers to charities such as the Salvos who help distressed people with their bills. Now OFarrell has sold off generators – privatization will turn electricity into an unaffordable luxury – we are now heading to be a third world country if not already.

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