The St Vincent de Paul Society’s Households in the dark report is an analysis of approximately 200,000 electricity disconnections over a three year period from July 2012 to July 2015.

The report found that electricity disconnections and energy exclusion are a growing problem that is entrenching poverty and hardship across Australia. The report recommends that measures to reduce the number of disconnections need to be better targeted in order to reach households most at risk of on-going financial hardship.

The report’s recommendations include:

Scaling up energy efficiency programs targeting low-income households, particularly those in private rental properties and social and public housing.

Strengthening regulatory protections for low-income and vulnerable households, including wrongful disconnection payments by retailers who do not follow the required processes when cutting off customers from their electricity supply.

Improving the adequacy and targeting of energy concessions.

Increased social security payments for households needing to be lifted out of poverty.

Education programs that inform households about concession arrangements, access to energy retailer hardship programs, relief schemes and other relevant support measures, including information on how to navigate the energy retail market, by shopping around for the best deal.

A full copy of the report is available on the St Vincent de Paul website

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