Published on August 20th, 2012 | by Steven Hodson0
Energy Poverty Is A Real Thing
One of the bills I hate the most, and dread with a passion, is our electric bill which is so full of WTF it’s enough to drive one to drink, except after paying the bill you’re lucky if you can afford a bottle of water. The really stupid part of the whole exercise is that our actual electrical costs here in Ontario, Canada, is the actual electricity.
Between taxes, Ontario Hydro Debt Repayment (ya we have to pay each month for all the debt incurred by the now deregulated but main power company in the province), and – get this – transmission fees, the hydero company is making more money from fees than the electricity.
I say this because there is a new study from the University of Sydney and University of New South Wales by Dr. Lynne Chester and Dr. Alan Morris respectfully that there is a growing new for of poverty called energy poverty. This is most prevalent in low-income families where their energy bills are taking an ever larger portion of their dwindling disposable income.
Granted this is an Australian study but I do not doubt that this kind of energy poverty is not just an Australian problem as I know many people in my own community here in Ontario that have to decide if they want to eat or pay the hydro bill, and pay the rent or mortgage.
As the two researchers point out the liberalization of the electricity sectors has resulted in increased consumer electricity prices that are far in excess of inflation and wage increases and this isn’t just in Australia but rather a global problem.
“Energy poverty needs to be explicitly recognised as a distinct and growing social problem for Australia’s 3.5 million households, who fall in the two lowest-income quintiles as defined by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.”
“Steep increases in electricity prices will cause hardship for low-income households because they have far less capacity to reduce their energy demand.”