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Energy poverty « Previous | |Next »
May 4, 2012

I heard a report this morning on Radio National's top line Breakfast programme about the effect of rising electricity prices on low income households. This was in the context of the rising cost of living burden.

The neo-liberal program is one of rising fuel prices, deregulation, privatisation, and the rapid escalation of electricity prices paid by households. The substantial increases are far in excess of general price and wage movements during the last few years.The increases are 60% in four states and territories with forecasts increases in residential electricity prices of 37% up to 2014. In NSW the increase is even more. Disconnection rates are on the rise amongst the working poor and those on a pension.


Though it was acknowledged that the price increases were for infrastructure investment--network upgrades for fossil fuel power stations-- the carbon tax (commentators do not use "a price on carbon" language) was seen as an extra burden that was too much to bear. Though compensation for the increased price on carbon was mentioned (those on lower incomes would receive more compensation than the increased cost of electricity) it was dismissed. No one believed it.

I was shocked by the ignorance, distrust and cynicism. There was no mention that the current building of new infrastructure for the small number of days a year of peak use could be better meet by decentralized solar photovoltaic systems sends power into the grid during times of peak demand – in the middle of hot days when air-conditioners are on. Household airconditioning has exacerbated peak demand.

There was no mention that rooftop solar in particular can make a big difference to household bills if feed-in tariffs and other schemes were better targeted to support disadvantaged areas and low-income households.

Nope, it was the carbon tax that was creating all the fear and anxiety in the context of the "eat or heat" syndrome: when poor families must decide between putting food on the table or heating their homes.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 6:38 PM | | Comments (6)


of course its all the Gillard Government's fault. They are to blame for everything.

the underlying subtext is that the "carbon tax " is bad politics and therefore it should be scrapped. That it is good policy is irrelevant.

It's another confirmation of the overwhelming picture since the 2010 election. This is one of seething anger in the electorate directed at the Prime Minister and the minority government.

more poles, wires and generation facilities are being built because of very short periods of very high demand eg., on t a hot summer's day where there's a lot of air conditioning running or on a cold winter's day when people have got their electric heaters on.

Electricity consumption (for) maybe 40 hours in the year is driving a whole investment program to supply that need.

People are beginning to live in homes now without electricity.