Rosalie Woodruff MP | Greens Energy spokesperson
The Tasmanian Economic Regulator’s Energy in Tasmanian 2019-20 Report reveals the proportion of residential and small business customers repaying a power bill debt in Tasmania has doubled over last reporting period.
This reflects the deep financial hardship many people have experienced during the COVID pandemic, and that remains widespread across Tasmania.
The Economic Regulator’s report reveals 7655 Tasmanian households and 404 small businesses were struggling with paying electricity bills at the end of June last year. These are distressingly large numbers that support community sector reports of families and business owners juggling significant levels of financial stress.
The Gutwein Government must prioritise funding in the forthcoming State Budget towards increasing energy efficiency and reducing financial insecurity.
It was revealed last month that $3.6 million of the $5 million dollar fund setup by Aurora Energy to assist people suffering hardship during the pandemic remained unspent. In response to questioning from the media, the retailer admitted their approach may have been too conservative.
Aurora must ensure that these funds are distributed where they’re most needed and do everything possible to help alleviate the debt burden being experienced by Tasmanians.
The Gutwein Government can alleviate power bill hardship – it’s about priorities.
In addition to increasing no-interest loans for energy efficiency upgrades for businesses and households, we urge the Liberals to ensure all social housing properties have a 5 star energy efficiency rating.
What is pleasing is that electricity consumption from the distribution system remains unchanged since 2015-16, due to the uptake of energy efficient appliances and household solar. This trend of Tasmanians consuming less electricity is a positive step towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions, as the state remains partially reliant on fossil fuels in our energy mix.