July 2024 Update: The Struggle of Keeping Up With Rising Energy Bills is Real in NSW

Struggle of Keeping Up With Rising Energy Bills is Real in NSW
5 min read

Key Takeaways:

  • The latest report suggests that medium and high-income households are also struggling with payment difficulties and energy disconnection.
  • The consistent increase in energy prices, mortgage, and rent are the leading factors responsible for the persistent affordability issues.
  • The number of households struggling with disconnection issues rose by 13% in the financial year of 2022-23.
  • Econnex can help you compare and find the best available energy plans within its panel of retailers.

Paying utility bills on time has become a rising concern among New South Wales residents from all walks of life. This past year, the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) conducted a crucial survey involving approximately 1,000 NSW residents who faced the threat of energy disconnection or were deeply concerned about it. Medium to high income earning households seem to be the latest to be facing the brunt.

Are NSW households at risk of energy disconnection?

Are NSW households at risk of energy disconnection

While low-income households continue to be under the heat of payment difficulty issues, an increasing number of medium to high income households lately fearing utilities disconnection. About 20% percent of those falling in the income bracket above $120,000 have already had it disconnected. 

In 2023, the number of households facing disconnection surged by approximately 13 percent, marking the most massive increase ever since the Global Financial Crisis. Moreover, the average number of households facing energy disconnection in a week touched 250 as per a report by Australian Energy Regulator (AER).

That tells the story of how nearly everybody across NSW is in the same boat, facing payment difficulties and disconnection issues. Ms Thea Bray, the senior PIAC officer, stressed on the current scenario saying, "I think it's just telling of what's happening for people right now, that this is a problem that can happen to anyone.” 

What are the major concerns? 

The survey has shed light on a critical concern: nearly 65% of those worried about energy disconnection were individuals struggling to find the money to pay their bills on the due date. 

What are the major concerns

Source: PIAC/ABC News

What’s more, respondents have even reported having to reduce other essential expenses or resort to borrowing money to keep their energy services connected. The disheartening fact is that some respondents have even complained of having to cut down on food to keep up with their energy bills.

Paul Fitzpatrick, the head of food and financial assistance in Anglicare Sydney, reported that "We're often talking to people who are going without a meal because a particular bill was due that week."

Why is this happening? 

Going by the statement of the Energy and Water Ombudsman NSW, the factors responsible for the affordability issues faced by NSW residents today include rise in energy prices, mortgage, and rent. 

Ms Bray has also held ‘lumpy and unpredictable’ billing responsible for the spike noticed in the season of summer and winter. 

How is the government helping? 

In these trying times, the energy minister of NSW, Penny Sharpe has highlighted the importance of making the most of energy rebates. As per our research, seniors and families can enjoy a rebate of up to $250. Low-income households and those facing medical issues, on the other hand, are eligible for a $350 rebate.

She says, “The NSW government understands many people are doing it tough at the moment as cost-of-living pressures continue, which is why we increased the values of all our electricity rebates for NSW households during the most recent state budget,"

Mr Fitzpatrick has encouraged people to seek support from hotlines, private and government agencies, and even lifelines.

Last but not least, it is recommended to seek assistance from energy retailers, however you can. Many offer hardship programs to extend support to customers struggling with payment difficulties. Ms Bray has advised individuals to reach out to their energy retailers for guidance on managing energy usage and availing the best available offers. 

How can Econnex help? 

At Econnex, we believe in taking conscious efforts to extend support in the best way that we can. Staying true to that, it stands tall as a platform that helps you compare utility plans from a vast panel of retailers to find the most suitable fit for your budget and needs. 

Visit Econnex to compare, switch, and save today!

Source - ABC