Energy bills burning holes in household budgets

The Australian Energy Regulator (AER) has today published its annual report on retail market performance, revealing the extent to which South Australians are struggling to pay their electricity bills.

The Report reveals that:

•         There was a 32 per cent increase in South Australians on electricity retailer hardship programs from the previous year;
•         The average low income household in South Australia experienced a 10 per cent increase in gas bills; and,
•         There are an above average number of South Australian customers on payment plans with a high level of debt.

“It is alarming that 56,000 South Australian have large gas and electricity debts with energy retailers,” said Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Council Michelle Lensink.

“Unfortunately, because of the Weatherill Labor Government’s exorbitant increases to the ESL tax, the number of South Australians on hardship programs will only increase next year.

“With many South Australians already struggling, the Weatherill Labor Government’s savage ESL increase is completely unjustified and another hit to South Australians’ hip-pockets.

“Cost of living increases are placing enormous pressure on family budgets and the Weatherill Government is directly responsible for a significant portion of the pain.

“Let’s not forget that since Labor came to power in 2002:

•         State taxes have increased by 106 per cent;
•         Property charges have increased by 120 per cent;
•         Electricity bills have increased by 140 per cent;
•         Gas bills have increased by 157 per cent; and,
•         Water bills have increased by 236 per cent.

“Labor simply cannot continue to rip money out of household budgets.”