National Electricity Market Reform Advocacy

by Jordan Valageorgiou - Wednesday, 23 February 2011


The price of energy for consumers has increased by 20% since 1st July 2009 mainly due to the energy suppliers’ need for increased infrastructure. Much of this additional infrastructure is needed to accommodate the increased demand created by high energy using appliances and air conditioners.

This price increase will be compounded by the carbon pricing that is under discussion by the Federal government. The additional costs will be passed on by the retailer to consumers.

Low income consumers are the most severely impacted. This is exacerbated by their accommodation which is often poorly constructed, badly insulated and contains outdated appliances.  In some cases low income consumers may be paying their energy bills as a priority before paying for other vital basics such as food, doctors and pharmaceuticals.  

The social isolation that accompanies disconnection of energy supply, the potential health effects of inadequate heating and cooling when attempts are made to economise on energy costs and going without essentials such as food and energy are some of the inevitable impacts on low income consumers.  However there are a number of ways low income earners can get financial help with their energy bills and there are a number of energy efficiency programs available to them.

The ECC is developing some simple tools to investigate the impact of this price increase on ethnic residential and commercial energy users and has commenced by consulting with community workers and the ECC team of bilingual environmental educators. This will include questionaries for electricity users, workshops on conserving energy in the home and visits to of specific ethnic businesses.  Information about these programs is available on www.environment.nsw.gov.au/sustainbus/smallbusenergy .

To find out the financial assistance information that is available visit the website www.industry.nsw.gov.au/energy  or contact Helen Scott at the ECC. 

If you would like to complete the questionnaire or just learn more, then contact Helen Scott at the ECC on (02) 9319 0288 or e-mail energy@eccnsw.org.au