High energy prices continue to challenge households, especially those on low incomes.
In fact, the latest Australian Energy Regulator (AER) report describes the situation as “very concerning” and strongly encourages people who are having difficulty paying their bills to talk immediately to their energy retailer and seek assistance.
It is vital to seek assistance before debt gets out of hand.
The AER report assesses energy affordability based on how much of a household’s disposable income is spent on energy.
The report found low-income households on the median market offer spend twice as much of their disposable income on energy as the average household.
The report said energy retailers were required by law to offer assistance to customers who find themselves in hardship.
As long as you are in a hardship program and meeting its conditions, you cannot legally be disconnected.
The AER released the Customer Hardship Policy Guideline in March to "strengthen protections for customers experiencing hardship" and bring greater clarity and consistency to the support retailers are required to provide.
New penalties will apply where retailers fail to meet their obligations.
National Seniors Australia is campaigning to cut energy bills because high prices hit those who cannot afford them the hardest.
If energy affordability is an issue you care about, sign up to the campaign to get regular updates.
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