A new report from the St Vincent de Paul Society provides critical new insights about which households are being disconnected from electricity for not paying their bill.
The report, Households in the dark: Mapping electricity disconnections in South Australia, Victoria, NSW and South East Queensland,
analysed more than 200,000 disconnections by AGL over a three year period.
The characteristics of the top 50 postcodes in each state were then compared to Australian Bureau of Statistics data to determine what type of households
were experiencing the most energy stress in each area.
Energy Consumers Australia CEO Rosemary Sinclair said the result is a valuable new picture of where consumers are struggling or unable to pay their bills.
Energy Consumers Australia applauds Vinnies and AGL for collaborating to gain these important insights which can now help inform policy, said Ms Sinclair.
One of the key insights is that peoples vulnerability to energy disconnection stems from a wide range of factors, including local factors like employment,
as well as the build-up of financial distress from a range of family budget pressures.
If were going to deal with energy disconnections, we need to appreciate the wider issues which make consumers vulnerable in the first place.
Energy disconnections place a huge burden on our society and the economy. This report shows that the best progress will be made when industry and other
stakeholders work together to solve these problems.
Energy Consumers Australia funded the project through its Grants Program and Ms Sinclair said ECA was committed to working with industry and consumer advocates
to explore the total cost of energy disconnections and customer assistance and new solutions.
I encourage other retailers and energy suppliers to follow AGLs lead and show that they want to be part of the solution, said Ms Sinclair.
Energy affordability is such a complex problem. If we work together, we will achieve better results for consumers.
Funding for the report was provided through the Energy Consumers Australia Grants Program.