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MEDIA RELEASE: The big-ticket energy policy issues this election, Wednesday 6th March 2013

March 06, 2013

“The ‘cost of living’ is widely recognised as a key issue for voters ahead of Saturday’s election,” said Irina Cattalini, CEO for WACOSS today.

“But we have yet to hear a clear strategy to tackle high energy prices for families in financial hardship.”

“Based on our research and consumer advocacy, we think the three most effective energy policy strategies for tackling disadvantage are:

  • A 15% concessional energy tariff for low income households,
  • A targeted energy efficiency program for those in financial hardship, and
  • Reducing the cost of energy for all households by removing the TEC levy”

“Low income households have been hardest hit by the 79% rise in electricity prices over the last four years, with increasing numbers of families unable to pay their bills seeking support from our members.”

Those hardest hit are often households in old and inefficient rental or public housing, who are stuck with high energy use and are excluded from energy efficiency measures.

“A fifteen percent concessional tariff for those households in greatest need would provide effective financial assistance, proportional to the size of their energy bills.”

“Investing in measures targeted at improving the energy efficiency of households in financial hardship with disproportionately high energy use is the best way to combine efficiency with equity to achieve a double benefit for our community.”

“In regional and remote areas where the cost of delivering energy is much higher, greater efficiency can also make inroads into reducing the cost of energy for all consumers.”

“The Council continues to support a uniform household tariff policy that ensures all households across the State pay the same price for electricity – but continues to argue that subsidising regional power delivery through the tariff equalisation contribution (TEC) is unfair on low income households.”

“While low income households may spend as much or less than other household types on electricity, those bills represent a much greater proportion of their weekly income – so anything that pushes up electricity prices has a greater impact on them.”

The Council also continues to call for funding for independent specialist consumer advocacy in WA, in line with measures in other States.

“We need an independent voice for consumers that has the capacity to undertake research and grapple with the technical aspects of the regulation of energy markets – to ensure that Western Australians are not paying too much for their energy,” concluded Ms Cattalini.

WACOSS regularly undertakes research on the cost of living in WA and represents consumer interests in the regulation of WA’s energy markets.

Media Enquiries: Irina Cattalini, CEO, WACOSS, 9420 7222

Click here to download the Media Release. Click here to download the WACOSS Cost of Living (Utilities) Factsheet

Printed and Authorised by Irina Cattalini, 2 Delhi Street, West Perth, WA 6005