Unjustifiably high electricity prices locked in

In the midst of a cost of living crisis, today’s announcement by the Tasmanian Economic Regulator of another increase in electricity prices is a blow to Tasmanians on the lowest incomes, who do not have anything left in their budgets to cut back on and are at breaking point.

TasCOSS CEO, Ms Adrienne Picone, said while the regulated price increase of 0.5% is much smaller than the 22.5% rises in the past two years, it shouldn’t deflect from the fact that Tasmanian households are still paying too much for their electricity and have the highest electricity bills in the country.

“Tasmania’s electricity prices are far too expensive for people on low incomes who are already struggling with a cost of living crisis,” Ms Picone said.

“TasCOSS is concerned those households unable to afford their energy have little option but to pay the extra bill hit by going without other essentials, such as food or medicine, or enter into energy debt. Either option is not good for physical and mental health and wellbeing, and will only compound difficulties for households to engage in education, work or training.

“The Tasmanian Government must urgently act to provide relief now by releasing $35 million of Energy Bill Relief Fund payments currently being withheld, and support people on low incomes to avoid future price increases by working with the Commonwealth Government to co-invest in energy efficiency initiatives for low income households that will reduce consumption and bills.”

TasCOSS encourages consumers to contact their retailer to ensure they’re on the best plan, check if they are eligible for concessions, and ask their retailer for help if they are struggling to pay their bills. Retailers are legally obliged to offer a payment plan or hardship supports. It is illegal for consumers to be disconnected if they are keeping to a payment plan or are on a retailer’s hardship program.