Energy efficient upgrades needed for low income households

TasCOSS welcomes a focus on energy affordability in this election campaign, in particular Tasmanian Labor’s announcements to cut and cap Tasmanian electricity prices and remove connection/disconnection charges.

TasCOSS CEO, Ms Adrienne Picone, said tackling the poor energy performance of our housing stock requires a bold investment in household energy efficiency upgrades for social housing, low income owner-occupier homes and rental properties, underpinned by minimum energy efficiency standards for rental properties. 

“TasCOSS reiterates our calls for a broad scale program of energy efficient upgrades co-funded by the state and Commonwealth governments for social housing, private rentals and homeowners on low incomes,” Ms Picone said.*

“Commitments so far only address a fraction of the identified need.

“Tasmanians who have been skipping meals, missing medical appointments and going into debt to afford energy, food and other essentials, are telling us they need better policy commitments than one-off, band-aid solutions. While initiatives that provide relief to cost of living pressures are welcome, Tasmanians need evidence-based, ambitious policy solutions and funding investments that address the long-term, structural causes of poverty and inequality, while improving health and wellbeing.   

“TasCOSS estimates there are 50,000 households experiencing energy poverty or unable to afford their power bills, that are in need of greater support to reduce their consumption and lower their bills. 

“Proposals that only target a fraction of the housing stock, or lack the necessary investment to undertake significant upgrades, merely tinker at the edges. Substantial investment is needed to improve the energy efficiency of low income households, together with the implementation of minimum energy efficiency standards for rental properties, in order to guard against rising energy costs and provide for healthier homes.

“Investing in household energy efficiency upgrades will not only lower power bills and improve energy affordability for Tasmanians living on low incomes, it will create jobs, reduce emissions, help achieve Tasmania’s renewable energy goals, and improve the health and wellbeing of Tasmanians.”

* For more information, please see TasCOSS’s 2024/25 Budget Priorities Statement: Supporting Tasmanians in a Worsening Cost of Living Crisis, Recommendation 3.3, pp. 11-13.