Michelle Lensink

Long cold winter for thousands of South Australians

Sadly the 18 per cent increase in the price of electricity announced yesterday will result in a surge of families and households being disconnected for non-payment of bills without swift action by the Australian Energy Regulator (AER).

“The Weatherill Government’s decision to force the Northern Power Station to close down has plunged thousands of South Australians into crippling energy debt and unfortunately that number will grow significantly as a result of the 18 per cent increase in household bills,” said Shadow Minister for Human Services.

“As we head into winter it is critical that AER increase the threshold of debt at which it permits the disconnection of people from the grid.

“The current $300 threshold is already too low with South Australians suffering from the highest electricity prices in the nation, over 2,800 households being forcibly disconnected in the last three months and now facing another massive increase in the price of power.

“The threshold for disconnection needs to be increased to $500 so a more appropriate long term payment scheme can be accessed.

“South Australia already has the most per capita electricity disconnections, gas disconnections, the most people with an energy debt, the highest average electricity debt in the country and the situation will deteriorate dramatically when the 18 per cent price rises strike.

“A year ago South Australia’s average electricity debt was $775 today it has risen to $875, in a year’s time it will be significantly higher again.

“A year ago there were .335 per hundred rate of disconnections in South Australia today that number has risen to .380 per hundred and surging electricity prices are set to increase that number substantially.

“Struggling families will be caught in a pincer movement of higher energy prices and rising unemployment through absolutely no fault of their own.

“It is critical that we take all necessary steps to protect as many South Australians as possible from the prospect of having their power cut off.”

2016-17 Q3 Residential customers disconnected for non-payment - by jurisdiction

Region

Electricity
(Number of
customers (per
100 customers))

Electricity
(Number of
customers)

Gas
(Number of
customers (per
100 customers))

Gas
(Number of
customers)

Qld

0.374

7176

0.201

368

NSW

0.252

7775

0.148

1908

SA

0.380

2879

0.288

1200

Tas

0.108

258

0.000

0

news media

Be the first to comment

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.