The Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) today expressed concern that up to 50 households a day were having their electricity cut off for failing to pay their bill.
The latest figures released by the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) show that there has not been any significant drop in disconnections on the previous year. In 2007-08 18,162 households were disconnected compared to 18,339 in 2006-2007.
Senior Policy Officer with PIAC’s Energy + Water Consumers’ Advocacy Program Mark Ludbrooke said, ‘PIAC is concerned that energy providers are still not doing enough to assist disadvantaged and low-income households to stay connected. While most suppliers offer payment plans PIAC’s research has shown that these are not affordable for most people.’
PIAC recently released its own research into electricity disconnections, Cut Off II, which backs up the IPART data. PIAC is using these findings to lobby the NSW government and energy companies to offer better hardship provisions for those people who are having difficulty paying their bills.
‘PIAC believes that 18,000 disconnections a year is far too many. By comparison, there were just 7,100 disconnections in Victoria over the same period. PIAC’s research also found that one in three people disconnected in NSW had no contact with their energy supplier prior to disconnection. This is a major concern.’ Mr Ludbrooke added.
PIAC’s report, Cut Off II, the experience of utility disconnections can be viewed at https://piac.asn.au/publication/2009/02/cut-ii-january-2009
Contact Mark Ludbrooke on 02 8898 65 18 or [email protected]
MEDIA CONTACT: Dominic O’Grady, Media and Communications Officer,
Public Interest Advocacy Centre. Ph: 02 8898 6532 or 0400 110 169