Energy Stressed in Australia

New report finds energy spending has hit a new high for low-income households, who spend 6.4% of their income on energy on average, with a quarter spending more than 8.8%. 

High-income households spend just 1.5% on average. 

ACOSS and the Brotherhood of St Laurence (BSL) commissioned Associate Professor Ben Phillips, from the ANU Centre for Social Research and Methods, to analyse the cost of energy (electricity and gas) for a range of household types in Australia. Households living with low incomes or experiencing disadvantage, who are paying disproportionately more of their income on energy than the national average, are more likely to experience energy stress. Combined with the current housing affordability crisis, low wage inflation, long-term unemployment and only one job for every eight people looking for paid work, higher energy costs have had serious consequences for some households.

Some have been tipped over the edge, and are going without heating and cooling, meals, and other basic essentials in order to afford their energy bills.

To inform the development of appropriate policy solutions, policymakers need to better understand who is most impacted by high electricity prices.

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