The announcement by the Tasmanian Economic Regulator (TER) that household electricity prices will fall by 7.11% next month couldn’t come soon enough for Tasmanians grappling with mounting cost of living pressures.

TasCOSS CEO Ms Adrienne Picone tells Dave  the impacts of the pandemic, combined with the housing affordability crisis, low wage growth, job insecurity and loss of income supports, have resulted in more Tasmanian households struggling with cost of living pressures.

“This price reduction is welcome and will provide much-needed relief to residential customers that have endured higher electricity consumption and have had difficulty paying electricity bills and keeping their homes warm over the past year,” Ms Picone said.

Off the back of today’s announcement, Ms Picone also renewed calls for the State Government to deliver the lowest electricity prices in the country to further ease cost of living pressures.

“While the standing offer price reduction will provide welcome relief for residential customers in the short- to medium-term, we continue to call on the State Government to go beyond its commitment to the lowest regulated prices in the country,” she said.

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“The fact remains there are market offer prices on the mainland lower than Tasmania’s standing offer price and these market offer prices fell by almost 9% over the last year.”

TasCOSS has been leading the call for the State Government to improve energy affordability for Tasmanians and provide increased support for households to lower their electricity bills. Prior to the state election in May this year, TasCOSS joined a coalition of consumer energy advocates seeking increased support for households to lower their electricity bills.

“TasCOSS estimates there are 59,000 Tasmanian households currently experiencing energy poverty. These are families and individuals who are rationing their energy by going without basic activities like showering, cooking or heating to save a few dollars on their electricity bill,” Ms Picone said.

“Rationing energy use often leads to significant health and wellbeing impacts, especially at this time deep into a Tasmanian winter.

“Lowering electricity prices will go a long way to helping customers manage their electricity bills, but there is more that needs to be done to ensure all Tasmanians have access to an affordable, safe and reliable electricity supply.

“Dollar for dollar one of the best investments the State Government can make right now is in household energy efficiency upgrades, to ensure homes use less electricity and are healthy to live in.”

TasCOSS has proposed a bold investment program that will extend the benefits of energy efficiency upgrades to Tasmanians on low incomes, regardless of whether they are in public housing, community housing, private rentals or owner-occupied homes.

For more information, please refer to TasCOSS’s 2021/22 Budget Priorities Statement: Household Energy Efficiency Initiatives.