Environment and Water | September 25, 2018

Larger households more at risk of energy poverty

The Nationals Member for Lowan Emma Kealy says the latest findings by the Energy and Water Ombudsman Victoria (EWOV) illustrate just how dire the energy crisis is for Victorians.

The latest quarterly affordability report by EWOV has found that large, low-income houses are most at risk of energy poverty, with households having to choose between having their energy disconnected or going without food and heating.

“Families are having to choose between having a warm dinner or a warm home. That is now the reality of the situation we are living in,” Ms Kealy said.

“When Daniel Andrews closed Hazelwood in November 2016, he told Victorians that they would not see energy prices increase by more than 85 cents a week.

“Now, thousands of Victorians across the state have suffered as a result of Hazelwood’s closure, including families that are struggling to heat their homes during the winter months.

“The latest findings by EWOV for the April-June quarter reveal the number of credit cases have increased 10 per cent since this time last year.

“Customers from large households were found to be more than twice as common to have a credit issue, accounting for 8 per cent of overall credit cases.”

Ms Kealy added that while the report’s findings focused on metropolitan areas, the energy crisis has also had a direct impact on businesses and individuals across the Lowan electorate.

“Many local businesses and individuals within my electorate are really bearing the brunt of Hazelwood’s closure, seeing a significant hike in their energy bills,” Ms Kealy said.

“The Halls Gap Hotel has advised me of a 64 per cent increase in their overall energy costs after entering into a new contract with their provider who was once again offering the cheapest rate, but at a significantly higher price than their previous contract.

“The hotels first power bill under the new contract showed an increase of 64 per cent or $1,600 per month compared to their previous contract.

“I have continued to raise my concerns with the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change and seek that she takes immediate action to address the escalating energy crisis facing all Victorians.”

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