A new report out today calls on the Australian Government to put people first and end the deadlock on energy transition to ensure people on low-income and experiencing disadvantage have access to affordable, reliable and clean energy into the future.

The report Empowering disadvantaged households to access affordable, clean energy was produced by the Australian Council of Social ServiceBrotherhood of St Laurence and The Climate Institute after consulting with over 120 community, environment and energy experts across Australia from March – June 2017.

The consultations identified a raft of energy and non-energy market policies needed to ensure affordable and clean energy for disadvantaged households.

Report findings in Brief

Five outcomes were identified as necessary to support low-income and disadvantage households as we transition to clean energy, requiring policies to:

  • Deliver cheaper clean energy,
  • Empower consumers,
  • Improve household efficiency and productivity,
  • Provide stronger consumer protection, and
  • Improve capacity to pay bills.

Within the five outcomes the report suggests a number of urgent reforms, while noting other reforms will also be necessary. These include non-energy market solutions that immediately and positively impact people on low incomes, such as:

  • Increase Newstart, youth allowances, student allowances, and other social security payments so that everybody has the capacity to pay their energy bills.
  • Improve access to energy concessions, and increase the amount of energy concessions, including shifting to a percentage-based concession to support people who are most vulnerable
  • Increase support for energy efficiency upgrades and installation of rooftop solar for low income households.
  • Implement minimum energy efficiency standards on rental properties.
  • Support local place-based support services to inform and enable vulnerable households to engage with the energy market.

There also needs to be energy market reforms to end uncertainty and which are more inclusive and equitable, such as:

  • Incentivise the transition to large scale clean energy (such as a clean energy target, emissions intensity scheme etc)
  • Develop a plan to manage coal generator retirement and replacement in the interests of the workers, affected communities and energy consumers.
  • Ensure everyone pays their fair share for clean affordable electricity by addressing the inequitable allocation of clean energy policies and other energy costs
  • Deliver more efficient, cleaner, accessible and affordable electricity for all by implementing inclusive and equitable network policies that support a greater use of demand management and distributive energy, alongside large scale generation
  • Review harmful disconnection laws and scope of hardship programs, and expand and improve energy consumer protections



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