Electricity prices bring tough choices for consumers

‘Some people face an
impossible choice because of rising electricity prices,’ says
Carolyn Hodge, Senior Policy Officer with the Public Interest Advocacy Centre’s
Energy + Water Consumers’ Advocacy Program (EWCAP).

‘The choice some people face
is this: either they buy essential medication or they pay enough of their
electricity bill to stay connected.’

The Independent Pricing and
Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) announced today that regulated electricity retail
prices would increase by between 15.5 per cent and 18.1 per cent on 1 July

‘Electricity price rises have
a broad social impact,’ Ms Hodge (pictured) said.

‘Low-income and vulnerable
consumers often can’t absorb these kinds of increases because they’re already
struggling to meet the cost of essentials.

‘We are aware that some
vulnerable consumers are going without adequate lighting and heating in order
to afford electricity at current prices.’

Ms Hodge said people can take
action today to help manage these latest increases.

‘People can ask their
electricity retailers if they are eligible for any of the Government’s Energy
Rebates. They can also talk to their retailer about available payment options.’

PIAC believes longer-term strategies are needed to ensure that vulnerable households continue
to have access to essential services.

‘We would like to see a
social tariff investigated as a matter of urgency,’ said PIAC Chief Executive
Officer, Edward Santow.

‘A social tariff would allow
eligible consumers to access electricity at a lower rate. This would protect people who are most at risk of energy poverty from the worst of
these price rises,’ Mr Santow said.

MEDIA CONTACT: PIAC Media and Communications Officer, Dominic O’Grady.

Ph: (02) 8898 6532 or 0400
110 169.

Background briefing: Keeping the essential affordable

There is a way to break the cycle of vulnerable
households trapped by rising power costs, writes Carolyn Hodge.

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