Research finds energy price rises hitting pensioners hard

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Householders’ income spent on energy in Australia is surging, according to new research commissioned by the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) and the Brotherhood of St Laurence.

The analysis, conducted by the Australian National University (ANU), investigated the burden of electricity and gas costs for a range of household types in Australia between 2008 and 2018.

The research found some of the lowest income households in Australia spend more than 10 per cent of their incomes on spiralling energy costs. Meanwhile, more affluent households spend significantly less of their income (1.5 per cent) on energy.

Those households whose main source of income is either pensions (such as Age Pension or Disability Support Pension) or other government benefits (such as Carers Allowance) are also spending more of their income on energy. With one in four households on pensions spending more than six per cent of their income on energy, and one in four on ‘other government benefits’ spending more than eight per cent of their income on energy.

Single person households (many of whom are reliant on pensions) spend a higher proportion of their income on electricity and gas than many other household types.

The research also showed that the gap between low and high-income household spending on energy costs has also widened since 2008.

The ACOSS research mirrors the results of YourLifeChoices’recent Retirement Matters survey, which found energy costs were rated as the biggest drain on the savings of retirees.

ACOSS Chief Executive Officer Dr Cassandra Goldie said: “This analysis confirms once again that people on low incomes are doing it the toughest, spending more of their income on the bare essentials.

“Having to pay more of their income on energy is a slap in the face for households already struggling with increasing costs of living, slow wage growth and unemployment.”

Damian Sullivan from the Brotherhood of St Laurence said the rising cost of energy could be potentially fatal for older Australians as we head towards the summer months.

“On those very hot summer days, we know some older people in poor health who need cooling will go without it, just so they can afford to pay their bills,” Mr Sullivan said.

ACOSS and the Brotherhood of St Laurence say policy solutions need to focus not only on reducing energy prices, but also on reducing the size of energy bills and improving capacity to pay for vulnerable households.

Read the full report.

Are you finding it hard to meet the rising cost of energy? Should the Government do more to help pensioners and those on fixed incomes to pay their energy bills?

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Written by Ben

105 Comments

Total Comments: 105
  1. 0
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    This is the problem when people stop working, when they are denied a pension and when bills rise fast. Their limited resources to pay fail.
    This is not just about electricity prices. There’s fast rising council rates, fuel costs, the general cost of everyday necessities and a host of others. Of course the ‘official’ inflation figures are manipulated and not to be believed, having been massaged so that people cannot see that the temperature in the lobster pot is rising. We all nevertheless feel the results: unaffordability.

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      MICK…Regulate the utility companies instead of allowing them to rip Australians off.

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      The daily access rate is rising and that has nothing to do with energy use, it’s just the retailers ripping us off to get rich. Same as Water resources. The cost of hundreds of dollars for infrastructure and just a few tens of dollars for the actual water.

      I’m beginning to object to paying for the infrastructure needed for this rapid population growth. The Government wanted it and should be paying for it not us.

      Might be helping the immigrants to lead better lives but it’s certainly making my life less enjoyable.

      Don’t see why I should be forced to pay for other people’s better lives and businesses better profits.

      We even lost part pensions to help all these other people. Bah Humbug!

    • 0
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      Some electricity retailers are now not letting your bills go below those daily access charges with your feed in too.

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      Rae wrote “Same as Water resources. The cost of hundreds of dollars for infrastructure and just a few tens of dollars for the actual water.”

      You can thank WannbeClimateScientistFlannery & his insane predictions of “permanent drought” in Australia, causing gullible virtue-signalling politicians to lumber Australia with the “infrastructure” of hugely expensive WHITE ELEPHANT desalination plants which chew up vast amounts of money even when they’re sitting idle and not producing any water!

      I remember that during the construction of Victoria’s white elephant, they had to stop construction due to FLOODING RAINS!!

      Here’s an interesting article from 2017 … Victorians will be paying $8 MILLION annually for desalinated water EVEN IF THE DAMS ARE FULL!!!
      http://www.heraldsun.com.au/subscribe/news/1/index.html?sourceCode=HSWEB_WRE170_a&mode=premium&dest=http:%2F%2Fwww.heraldsun.com.au%2Fnews%2Fvictoria%2Fsecret-desal-deal-8m-bill-for-annual-minimum-water-order%2Fnews-story%2F001a98adb6e79358185ccfc06f9329de&memtype=anonymous

      Greenie/leftie/warmists are totally insane!

    • 0
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      Labor plans to raise GST to 15%
      Just imagine the burden on pensioners and self funded retirees
      Add to that removal of franking credits – double whammy

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      A help would be exempting the GST from power bills for full time pensioners (I am not one of them). Quite happy with my bills so far, 2 of us and we look after power consumption and pay about $3 a day without air con; of that is $1.50 service fee.
      Petrol is another matter and that is where the real hurt comes from for people living further out. I live in the middle of things and do no longer really need a car apart from a major shopping trip. The GST going to 15% is probably waiting for us, has done that in New Zealand and other places. Ireland has gone to 23% for unnecessary items and 18% for the stuff one needs.

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      Yes Olbaid and the LNP want that as well. Just tax the easy targets while giving business tax cuts. This tax on consumers is just another form of Corporate welfare.

    • 0
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      Agree Rae they both want to raise it as it is such an easy tax to collect.

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      Yes Rae. Not too long ago raising the GST was up for ‘discussion’ by the LNP. Just like selling off the ABC was against brought up as a ‘discussion’ point a week ago.
      The current government WILL increase the GST and WILL sell the ABC off (Rupert???) if is re-elected. Bet on it. Not sure how Labor will go but hopefully it will claw back the tax cuts for wealthy Australians. The mates club.

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      Cowboy Jim, why should pensioners get all the benefits funded by taxpayers and self-funded retirees who are struggling to preserve savings genuinely needed for anticipated future expenses are just left to drain their savings for no benefit to them, and worse off than if they hadn’t saved. It’s a stupid notion to suggest we should make pensions so attractive that only the filthy rich want to be self-funded. We will end up with hundreds of thousands more aged pensioners and a massive taxpayer burden that is intolerable.

      If there are to be exemptions, they should be for ALL retirees, or income-tested. Likewise, there should be no assets test but ONLY income and fair deeming tests, with concessions in certain circumstances. If people go without to save, they should be able to benefit from those savings. If they are able to generate a healthy income, fine, but if they are not able to, they should be treated accordingly – not denied all benefit from having sacrificed to save in the first place.

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      I despise the LNP, but this is my problem with Labor. They want to make self-funded retirees so poor that nobody but the very rich would ever want to retire with more than the minimum. They have declared that even the wealthiest pensioners (and there are many who ARE wealthy but manipulate to qualify) should keep franking credits, but the even poorest self-funded retirees – regardless of circumstances and potential change in their circumstances – should NEVER get franking credits ever again.

      In other words, the punishment for doing what past governments said we should all do because it was good for the nation and good for us is that you lose thousands of dollars of annual income for the rest of your life. But if you were just a little more of a spendthrift, or plunged your wealth into a huge home, or lied about being separated from your partner (living in a $2 million house with bedroom wings at either end), you are rewarded very generously from the taxpayer purse – with TRIPLE benefits (pension + concessions + franking credits).

      Oh, sorry, I forgot! The taxpayer can’t afford to subsidize the retirement of self-funded retirees. They can ONLY afford to give five or ten times as much to everyone who manipulated to get a pension before a random date, because paying $40K+ a year to keep a pensioner (when concessions and admin costs are counted) is WAY cheaper than giving an SFR a miserable $5,000 a year tax break, isn’t it?

      How could anyone with even one tiny brain cell vote for a moron who claims paying $40K+ a year to a retired couple is more affordable than giving the $5000 a year in tax breaks to help them continue to be self-funded? But then, that lying moron claimed people were getting ”millions” in credits and paying no tax because their money was in pension-phase super. Again, can’t do basic math. You can’t have more than $1.6 million in tax-free pension phase, so it’s simply not possible to get more than about $30,000 in franking credits and that would be an astonishing amount.

      We are left to choose between lying mongrel schemers who want the poor to subsidize the wealthy and foreign powers and lying mongrel idiots who want to make work and saving pointless and create a nation of leaners. Both lots are hopelessly inept, self-serving, and bad for the country. And then there’s a bunch of deluded fools in minor parties or as independents who are equally brainless and couldn’t achieve anything even if they had a bright idea because the two-party system thwarts them.

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      Mick, you appear to be are always ready to speak for the poor, even though your correspondence indicates that you yourself are quite unfamiliar with poverty, to say the least.

      You complain about rising costs for all manner of items, ignoring the fact that most are CPI linked, energy being the main exception where the price has been rapidly rising and reliability going in the opposite direction.

      Electricity has increased by at least 50% in the last decade, the pension has risen by around 25% – there’s most of the problem! Add to this the increases in the other costs of which you complain, all obviously related to increased energy costs.

      Yet another problem that you fail to take into account is the increase in unemployment, an outcome of our manufacturing industries moving to Asia where energy is much cheaper because it is made by burning coal from Australia. By some perverted process of logic, it is accepted fact that Australian coal, burned in Australia, will add to atmospheric carbon dioxide, but will have no effect if burned in Asia.

      You continue to assert that renewable energy is cheaper than that obtained from coal, the facts tell a different story. With renewable energy has come massive price increases and South Australia leading the charge as the first of the states to experience a total power blackout. Other states will follow and better excuses than blaming a storm will be needed. Multi billion power batteries won’t provide long term, affordable protection either.

      Finally, the question which rises is what is all the suffering for? The Chief Scientist was asked what climatic effect would be achieved if Australia went to zero carbon dioxide emissions and his reply was practically nothing. Try to find that interview on the internet – it’s not there for obvious reasons!

  2. 0
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    Where o’ where is my Giddy Aunt – do we really have to give my taxpayers money to rent seeking groups like this to fund so- called research to tell us the “ bleeding obvious”?

    • 0
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      Obviously we do. All those groups asking loaded questions and writing reports costing millions to pretend they have found the answer the government wants.

      I’m pretty much over it as well. They never do state the obvious reason for all this extra cost.

    • 0
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      A bit like Industry Superannuation Funds. The current government wants to stack the Boards with their rich top end of town folk to bleed them dry under the guise of accountability. The fact that they are doing so well seems to be of no consequence.
      We need less ‘research’ and much fewer bureaucrats. Most simply bleed average workers of money and services.

  3. 0
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    Gas prices in particular, are a killer, but, as Mick says, pensions do NOT keep pace with cost of living increases, because we have a government that thinks its corporate mates don’t owe a duty to contribute to Australia anything proportionate to the profits they take out.

    The whole country could be put up for sale by the current mob, and all those people with a slave mentality will vote for them anyway.

    • 0
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      Travellersjoy…What does it tell you when people in Asian countries pay less for Australian gas than Australians? The Government must be making big money from this rip off to be turning a blind eye to it all.

    • 0
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      I cannot see anything different happening under this COALition Govt.

    • 0
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      If you think gas prices will get cheaper under a Labor government think again.

    • 0
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      Can’t see how you have managed that – your electricity bills being
      less than 10 years ago!! When you were probably working 10 years ago and not home as much therefore not using as much electricity.
      That’s the killer for us pensioners we are home more and have to keep warm or cool – thereby using our electricity more.
      At least over East you have choices for you provider – in the West we only have the one for electricity – but 3/4 for gas.

    • 0
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      Correct Travellersjoy. Gas prices are however predominantly the fault of the Howard coalition government. Howard rubber stamped the sale of the third biggest LNG deposit to offshore investors for a (pitiful) handful of silver. That was supposed to be my retirement nest egg.
      If we had our own gas we could pick and choose who we sold it to whilst supplying Australians with cheap energy for a century to come. Howard sold us out. The current batch of Howard left overs are continuing to sell out the country with no end in sight.

    • 0
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      Sold at market price Mick
      The proceeds of which paid down labnor debt and rest invested in future fund
      Returning us 8% p.a. compounded for future fund and billions in corporate tax, income tax and payroll tax
      not to mention thousands of jobs
      DUH !!!

    • 0
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      yes sold t a low market price olbaid.

      The other thing amazes me. The future fund was set up for as follows.

      The Future Fund is an independently managed sovereign wealth fund into which the Australian Government deposits funds to meet the its future liabilities for the payment of superannuation to retired civil servants of the Australian Public Service.

      returning 8% you say.

      Well it is a pity that the current Super scheme were weren’t set up the same way.

      Just then all those super contributions going into a government run scheme with a compounded return of 8% without all the financial ripoffs currently going on.

    • 0
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      olbaid – flogged off for almost nix and no royalties collected for years. That equals sold out! By Howard and the current lot of disreputable misfits masquerading as servants of the state………….which they are not.
      Debt? Labor rules during the GFC and left a debt of $158 billion. THE CURRENT GOVERNMENT has run up a debt of $600 billion with NO GFC IN SIGHT. The only thing Australia has to show for your government is huge debt, Royal Commissions to destabilise Labor and unions, tax cuts for rich electoral donors and a destroyed NBN. What a legacy.

      You have a real hide posting your dishonest crap olbaid/OG. YLC needs to disconnect you!

  4. 0
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    My electricity bills are a lot cheaper today than they were 10 years ago.

    • 0
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      Then you are the exception.

    • 0
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      OG – then you must be off gallivanting around the world too much…
      I have kept a detailed spreadsheet over the years of all power bills and charges. Usage has been consistent, but as well as unit rates rising like a Tsunami, it is the service fees that are the killers. My service charge has increased (over the past 9 years) – from $21.82 to latest bill – $163.43. That is an increase of around 750%.
      Even with discounts I can scrounge, the charges for both meter’s has gone up exponentially. Meter A – from total per quarter average 9 years ago of $76.45 to $249.81. Meter B – from $22.46 to $243.51.
      Having worked for a large company where I was in charge of staff housing costs, I know of no-one where electricity bills have got cheaper – unless they are not in the house for long periods.

    • 0
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      That is the hundreds of retailers all running expensive offices and bonuses for salespeople etc plus whatever lurks and perks the CEOs get. Just one retailer should have been sufficient and in fact if it had been publicly owned some control could have been held over the generators.

    • 0
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      OG makes no sense, either he has enough solar to go off grid or he is never home, perhaps touring the country in a caravan.

    • 0
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      Blatant liar OG. I still have electricity bills from 10 years ago and the cost has gone up in multiples, not percentages. Good try.

    • 0
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      Mick I have my power bills from 10 years ago to and pay less today than I did 10 years ago. I use a lot less than I did 10 years ago now with LED lights and low power appliances.

  5. 0
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    What else can we expect under the Lieberal bastards currently governing us? Those mongrels are more interested in looking after their mates in the energy sector. typical of them that the poor and those on fixed incomes suffer more than the wealthy (their constituency).

    • 0
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      I agree, Knows-a-lot. Unfortunately, Labor intend to make things much worse. You should be very afraid of the consequences of their idiotic policy ideas. And minors and independents are either clueless or powerless or both! There’s not much hope while we have this ridiculous two-party system and a bunch of greedy morons in control.

  6. 0
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    Do you live in a tent OG?.

  7. 0
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    Current govt wants to look after big business & push wages down & neglect rises in pension or newstart payments so people are falling behind in living standards & thus not being able to cope with rising costs. No surprises -just a shame they don’t even care about these stats!about people going hungry ! Put those greedy ooli’s in pensioner shoes for a year or so & see if there’s change!

    • 0
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      Correction;
      *Shame they dont care about these stats about people going hungry! Put these greedy poli’s in pensioner shoes for a year or so & see if there’s change!

  8. 0
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    Mick and Jackie and Mick People should not have to make choices between paying for bilsl or going hungry. Not eating properly causes people to become unwell and then end up needing medical care. Never ending cycle

    • 0
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      Hunger is what brought on the French Revolution. We need one of those here for despotic governments working for industry interests rather than the nation.

  9. 0
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    Interesting that this “research” doesn’t list the primary cause of skyrocketing electricity rates ….being INTERMITTENT, UNRELIABLE, EXPENSIVE, MASSIVELY SUBSIDISED RENEWABLES!

    Electricity rates in Australia were low and falling until about 2005 when gullible, virtue signalling politicians fell for the UN’s “globalwarming®”fraud and began forcing renewables down Australian throats, causing electricity rates to begin their steeply increasing trajectory.

    Of course the politicians & leftie/greenie/warmist hangers-on LIED & blamed this on “gold plating the network”, ignoring the fact that electricity rates ALWAYS skyrocket whenever renewables are introduced.

    The same thing happened in “globalwarming®-renewables”-obsessed California where electricity prices rose three times more in 2017 than they did in the rest of the United States!
    They also LIED about the cause …. https://junkscience.com/2009/07/electricity-projected-to-skyrocket-in-georgia-under-carbon-law/

    They also lied about the cause in the UK as well …. https://twitter.com/ILuvCO2/status/545384495625428992/photo/1

    The unavoidable fact is that there is no country on Earth with lots of solar & wind power together with cheap electricity!! It’s an impossibility!

    Of course leftie/greenie activists continue to LIE that renewables are “cheap” such as in this case whrere they were forced to retract a LIE of a renewables “50% discount” in the UK recently.

    And of course our misanthropic leftie/warmist friends regard the millions of premature deaths worldwide due to a lack of access to cheap energy as “collateral damage” in their insane “war against coal” http://hockeyschtick.blogspot.com/2013/05/lack-of-access-to-fossil-fuels-causing.html?m=1
    It’s likely part of their hidden agenda to cull global population to “sustainable” levels!

    And of course the leftie/warmists ignore the massive pollution caused by the maufacture of renewables components … http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/moslive/article-1350811/In-China-true-cost-Britains-clean-green-wind-power-experiment-Pollution-disastrous-scale.html

    This push for renewables has a well hidden agenda, because the quickest way to kill off large numbers of people is through ENERGY POVERTY, and they’re succeeding!

    Europe Lets Its Citizens Freeze To Death …40,000 Dead In Winter 2014 As “Energy Poverty” Explodes!
    http://notrickszone.com/2016/03/29/europe-lets-its-citizens-to-freeze-to-death-40000-dead-in-winter-2014-as-energy-poverty-explodes/

    Their high priest Paul Erhlich summed up their strategy very well ….
    “Giving society cheap, abundant energy would be equivalent to giving an idiot child a machine gun”

    Which also neatly explains why leftie/greenies are dead set against “zero emissions” nuclear power because it would provide cheap, abundant power without “evil” trace gas, plant food CO2 emissions!

    • 0
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      Lots of good points, time the pendulum swung back the other way and we get cheap, reliable energy! Australia has the largest energy resources in the world, yet our politicians have stuffed us up in this as in many other matters.

    • 0
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      Correct luvco2
      No one wants to admit the real reason
      Hopefully Scott Morrison last government will fix the problem

    • 0
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      George and olbaid would you both be happy to have a Nuclear Power Station in your town?.

    • 0
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      Misty – I definitely would have no problems with it,
      Clean and cheap energy . I’d sign up in a heartbeat with any company selling power from a nuclear plant

    • 0
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      More propaganda crap from the coal industry. No surprise to see olbaid running the government propaganda. Worthless!

    • 0
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      LUVCO2. Heck not another Climate Change Denier.

      Tell that to the polar bears, The pacific islanders and more.

  10. 0
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    So how much did this piece of research cost to tell us what we already know and have known for the last decade? The University of the Bleeding Obvious!

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