Tasmanian households have amassed $13.6 million of household energy debt as a $33 million allocation for energy bill relief sits in government coffers.
TasCOSS Acting CEO, Dr Charlie Burton, said the Tasmanian Government’s allocation of $33 million towards energy bill relief is most welcome, but implored the Government to get the funds into the hands of Tasmanians household struggling with energy costs.
“Households are being suffocated by high energy prices, energy debt and cost of living pressures right now. Meanwhile, there’s $33 million sitting in a reserve, with Tasmanians no closer to receiving meaningful support to pay their power bills,” Dr Burton said.
“We have a simple answer for the Tasmanian Government: put the $33 million fund to immediate use to help Tasmanians with energy costs, rather than leaving them in limbo.
“The number of customers in energy debt is trending upward and there is an increasing number of community members accessing Energy Hardship Fund payments, demonstrating more support is needed to help Tasmanians afford their energy.
“Previous Government assistance including the Winter Bill Buster payment, Energy Saver Loans Scheme and fee-free aurora+ app have been vital supports for many Tasmanians, however, there is mounting evidence the current level of support is inadequate.
“$33 million could wipe out the $13.6 million of household energy debt and still leave funds to provide bill relief, such as Bill Buster payments.”
In response to growing community concern about energy affordability, TasCOSS made a number of recommendations as part of our budget priorities to deliver bill relief, concessions reform and investments in household energy efficiency that will lower energy bills and help to prevent people entering energy debt.