The WA Council of Social Service, funded through the Public Utilities Office, is commencing the Community Sector Energy Hardship (CSEH) project that will, firstly, increase an understanding of the role energy efficiency plays in addressing issues of energy hardship within community service organisations. This will be done through workshops, seminars and a possible travelling regional ‘road show’. Secondly, the project will conduct a needs and gap analysis of energy efficiency service delivery in the community service sector, with the sector identifying the main causes of energy hardship and which organisations are delivering services to address energy hardship through energy efficiency and other programs. The Office of Energy will use information from the needs and gap analysis to inform future procurement of low income energy efficiency services.
Improving energy efficiency in residential buildings is one of the most effective ways to support low income households with the increasing price of energy and other cost of living pressures. Therefore, raising awareness and building the capacity of community service organisations to address energy hardship through improving energy efficiency in low income households is a priority for the Council and the Office of Energy. The Office of Energy has recognised that to address energy hardship in WA, engaging community service organisations is the most effective way to ensure sensitive, appropriate and targeted programs. However, despite the advantages community service organisations have over government and the private sector in delivering services to low income households, there are few services in WA directly addressing energy hardship.
Whilst community services recognise that many of their clients are struggling with the rising cost of living, especially with increasing energy tariffs, community services may not be aware of the role they can play in addressing these additional cost pressures. Whilst many emergency relief organisations provide emergency payments to help families cover their energy bills, there are few in Western Australia who are working in prevention, supporting households to reduce their energy use, so they can prevent high utility bills, through behaviour change, household audits and retrofits.
Because of the complexity of issues that lead to a household experiencing energy hardship and the diversity of these households, providing innovative and appropriate services focusing on energy efficiency is essential. In order to for the community service sector to develop and deliver innovative programs, they need a strong understanding of the issues underlying energy hardship and the opportunity to address these issues through the means that they deemed most appropriate.
Energy Efficiency and Low Income Household Survey
WACOSS is seeking your input to help inform how the Office of Energy funds community service organisations to delivery service to support low income households to reduce their energy use. This 10 minute survey is confidential and anonymous Click here
for the survey.
The survey will provide information about the level of knowledge and understanding the community sector has about energy, energy efficiency and energy hardship; and if community organisations are delivering service to improve energy efficiency in low income households.