For a lot of us, the thought of being disconnected from our electricity is one that’s almost hard to imagine. But according to new research from the St Vincent de Paul Society and Alviss Consulting, it’s not too difficult for certain Aussie households.
The 2019 Households in the Dark report has revealed that over the last three years, households within rural postcodes experienced the highest amount of electricity disconnections.
The data also found that households within these postcodes had lower incomes, a higher unemployment rate and housing affordability issues.
Specifically, in New South Wales, more than a quarter of households made less than $650 a week, compared to the median weekly household income of $907.
“Regional and rural areas tend to have higher electricity costs simply because the poles and wires part of the bill is higher than the metro areas,” said Gavin Dufty from St Vincent de Paul Society.
“On top of that, they tend to be older communities, they tend to have lower incomes and they also tend to have lower employment opportunities.”
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Majority of ‘completed disconnections’ occur in Victoria
According to the report, there are two different types of disconnections a customer can experience: a raised or completed disconnection.
A raised disconnection is where a retailer requests a service order to disconnect a household’s supply with the relevant network, and can be either rejected, cancelled or completed.
A completed disconnection occurs when the request has been acted upon and a household has been cut off from their electricity supply.
Using AGLs’ market share, the data found that 43.8% of raised disconnections were completed in Victoria, followed by 36.7% in New South Wales, 30.3% in South East Queensland and 30.2% in South Australia.
Where to go from here
To combat the growing issue among the nation’s struggling suburbs, St Vincent de Paul Society also made a few recommendations for the state government to consider.
They included conducting reviews on existing programs to determine if any adjustments were required or if there were any areas where further assistance could be provided.
Another suggestion involved implementing a scheme to target rural communities experiencing energy affordability issues.
What can I do to keep my electricity bill from being disconnected?
First off, if you feel as though you will be unable to pay your upcoming energy bill, contact your energy retailer. From there, they’ll work with you to establish an appropriate payment plan to help you get on top of your payments.
Or if you feel as though your energy bill is too high, why not use our energy comparison tool to find out if you could be on a better deal, all you need to do is enter your postcode!