Five power questions to ask your local candidate

Voters who are
concerned by rising electricity and water costs are encouraged to ask hard
questions of candidates in the upcoming NSW election.

PIAC’s Energy &
Water Consumers’ Advocacy Program
(EWCAP) has developed a set of five questions
for local candidates.

‘Now that the 2011 NSW
election campaign is under way, we thought it would be useful to provide
individuals with some questions to ask at Meet the Candidates forums in their
local area,’ said EWCAP Senior Policy Officer, Carolyn Hodge.

‘The main benefit of
asking these questions is to find out what the candidates think about
electricity and water issues.

‘But there is also the
benefit that elected MPs will go into the new Parliament in the knowledge that
the electorate takes energy and water affordability seriously and that it is
the job of our elected representatives to address the issues,’ Ms Hodge said.

‘We encourage
individuals to choose a question or two from the list below, and ask them of
candidates attending the local forums.

‘Check local newspapers
for dates and details of these forums.’

1. We have heard a
lot in the media, and felt in our own bills, about rising energy costs and how
this will happen regardless of greenhouse policy. The replacement of inefficient
household appliances is an effective way to protect many low-income people
from rising energy bills, with the additional benefit of reducing carbon
emissions. If elected, what action will you take to improve the access and
affordability of energy efficient appliances to low-income households?

2. Currently the
NSW Energy Rebate is indexed to energy price increases. It is not clear that
this will continue beyond 2012. If elected, what will you / your party do to
ensure that the Energy Rebate is not eroded by energy bill increases after

3. The NSW
Government has sold off the State-owned energy retailers. If elected, what
steps will you take to ensure that vulnerable NSW households do not lose
consumer protections in the face of privatisation and rising energy costs?

4. Household water
supply across NSW is inconsistent. Services vary from large water corporations
such as Sydney Water and Hunter Water, who do a reasonable job on customer
protections, to small, Local Government authorities whose customers face
uncertain and inadequate protections and rebates. If elected, how will you/your
party ensure that rebates and consumer protections are consistently
applied across the state? 

5. Energy bills are
rising, and it is important that vulnerable households receive the assistance
that they need. Yet many poor households do not have access to the existing
schemes that are available in this state. For example, many people living in
residential parks or retirement villages cannot access rebates and Energy
Accounts Payment Assistance (EAPA) vouchers. What will you do to ensure that a
remedy is found to this problem?

Contact EWCAP’s Carolyn
for more information.

Photo: Flikr

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