'Energy poverty' a growing problem

(Phys.org) -- Low-income households in Australia are increasingly at risk of "energy poverty", a situation in which a household must spend more than 10 percent of its disposable income on energy bills, according to a paper published in the latest issue of the Australian Journal of Social Issues.

'A new form of energy poverty is the hallmark of liberalised electricity sectors' is co-authored by Dr Lynne Chester of the University of Sydney and Dr Alan Morris of the University of .

"Low-income households are the most vulnerable to this kind of poverty because their take a larger proportion of their disposable income," Dr Chester said.

In the five-year period from 2007 to 2012 the average increase in household electricity prices was 80 percent in NSW, more than 60 percent in Queensland, South Australia and Tasmania; and 38 to 45 percent in Northern Territory and the ACT. Further increases recently occurred in NSW, Victoria and Queensland.

Across the globe, the liberalisation of electricity sectors has resulted in increased consumer electricity prices that are far in excess of inflation and .

Many disadvantaged households are experiencing discomfort and ill health as well as other forms of material and because of the need to choose between essential and using electricity to maintain a decent standard of living.

Electricity and gas bills have been found, for example, to be the greatest cause of rental arrears in Victorian low-income households.

Yet the authors warn there is no large-scale Australian research to provide a substantial evidence base of the consequences for low-income households and that policymakers rely on measures that significantly underestimate electricity price changes.

There is consequently little understanding of the pressures and circumstances confronting the poorest Australian households. The paper calls for this to be addressed from a policy perspective in order to prevent the problem becoming more widespread.

"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 will cause hardship for low-income households because they have far less capacity to reduce their energy demand."

The paper suggests that current policies are reactive and ineffective and further embed the problem. "A new approach to electricity pricing is needed to prevent adverse impacts on the standard of living for millions of Australians," Dr Chester said.

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Citation: 'Energy poverty' a growing problem (2012, August 20) retrieved 17 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2012-08-energy-poverty-problem.html
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Aug 20, 2012
Once the voters in these Australian 3.5 million households (in a country of 9.4 to 10.0 million households) would have made their needs felt at the ballot box without researchers requiring grants.

Australia has compulsory voting--why--given energy poverty is such a problem--is it ignored by politicians?

Aug 20, 2012
The article conveniently ignores the fact that electricity prices got a huge increase in Australia with the start of the $23 / ton carbon tax. This tax was introduced despite an explicit promise not to do so before the last election, and the Labor government is set to be anhililated at the election next year as a result. Can't come soon enough IMO - in South Australia we now have the most expensive electricity in the developed world (around $0.40 / kWh).

Aug 20, 2012
What this article conveniently forgets is that what is really driving up the cost of electricity in Australia is "Green Power". Billions wasted in fancy green schemes which produce little usable power.

Of course the Aussies deserve what they're getting. They voted for these policies!
They have 30% of the worlds Uranium. Less than 10 nuclear plants can solve the electricity problem and save so much "CO2" emmisions. Instead what their government does is tax CO2 and drive up prices even more.

Aug 20, 2012
Who remains to be smart about PonZi-fusion? Ahh, acolytes and true-believers?
Are you acolyte and true-believer in cold fusion nonexistence? Or do you believe, the National Instruments employs idiots? Where is the boundary between healthy skepticism and religious ignorance? The deniers of evolution could explain it.

Aug 20, 2012
Across the globe, the liberalisation of electricity sectors has resulted in increased consumer electricity prices that are far in excess of inflation and wage increases

Meanwhile in Germany, political decisions to shut down nuclear power and fund unproductive renewable energy with taxpayer money has caused 15% of the households to have their power cut at least temporarily because of troubles in paying the bills: http://www.welt.d...rrt.html

Google translated:
The sharp price increases for electricity and gas , more and more consumers from payment problems - to the dark apartment. Was due to unpaid bills estimated 600,000 households in Germany in 2010, the current was turned off, told the Consumer Association of North Rhine-Westphalia in Düsseldorf.

Aug 20, 2012
They have thirty percent of world's uranium?!! That makes them a ripe plum for Chinese invasion and takeover following a really thorough ethnic cleansing and resettlement with proper Han Chinese. That way their energy security would have its final solution.
BTW, those people in Aussie Welfare offices know that energy prices are a problem. They are just being 'British' and purposely ignoring that fact until forced to. 'Liberalisation' of energy prices really means their utilities were given the go ahead by monopoly capitalist conservatives or chinese front interests acting through them to predate on the poor Australian civilian energy consumer. Like the article said, these price increases ARE profiteering on poor householders way above and beyond all economic energy cost justifications.

Aug 20, 2012
LOL people voted in a tax to make the Rothschilds and other labor zionist banksters richer. Why not just tell citizens to tie their own nooses and hang themselves? Banksters don't give two cents about global warming. Their most profitable enterprise is starting wars. Way to go funding the people who will fund the ammunition to shoot you in the head, and ask your children to pay interest on the loan.

Aug 20, 2012
political decisions to shut down nuclear power and fund unproductive renewable energy with taxpayer money has caused 15% of the households to have their power cut at least temporarily because of troubles in paying the bills
It's rather difficult to interpret it in this way in times of global economical crisis.

Aug 20, 2012
I propose that the rates for the AGW alarmists and those who voted for those advocating renewable engergy be doubled. And the rates for those who know AGW is a hoax and voted against those who advocated renewable energy be halved!

Aug 23, 2012
Great hammer of Thor was not published before twenty years in official journal of Italian Academy of Sciences and it cannot solve the energetic crisis. It's as useful, as the Higgs boson.

Aug 23, 2012
The European Union's Directorate-General for Research and Innovation has published a 2012 document which identifies and evaluates a number of potentially useful energy technologies, and makes recommendations about them to the European Commission. One section of the document (3.4) deals with Low Energy Nuclear Reactions in Condensed Matter. Surprisingly, the section starts without a hint of irony or qualification:
The Fleischmann and Pons Effect (FPE) is the production of large amounts of heat, which could not be attributed to chemical reactions, during electrochemical loading of palladium cathodes with deuterium. Energy densities measured during excess of power are tens, hundreds, and even thousands times larger than the maximum energy associated to any known chemical process. ..
Now you know, what you're supposed to do..

Aug 24, 2012
Meanwhile in Germany, political decisions to shut down nuclear power and fund unproductive renewable energy with taxpayer money has caused 15% of the households to have their power cut at least temporarily because of troubles in paying the bills

And just today Eon (a major german/european power company) announced it would not build any more power plants in western europe (of any kind) because there's already an over abundance of energy on the market AND building more would cut into their profits (they actually had the gall to state it that plainly).

So it's not really the problem of not having the energy or the energy being too expensive: It's greedy power companies massively overcharging for their services.

Aug 24, 2012
Dr Mills latest validations seem to show he knows a scientific formula for a catalyst. Electrode surface geometry is, of course, tailored for best performance. Delicate introduction required so as not to destroy the current worlds economy.

Aug 25, 2012
Astonishing. Adding 15 percent to my electric bill would increase my costs by 6 bucks a month.

"Adjusting" the prices of basic goods like energy that are required to run the economy at every turn tend to have cumulative effects, because they affect every link in the supply chains equally. If a chain has 10 links that all need energy, a 5% increase in energy prices can show up as a 50% increase in energy costs by the last link.

It basically means that while your electricity bill won't go up much, your food bill, your telephone bill, the amount you have to pay to get your hair cut will increase much more.

Aug 26, 2012
australia has a lot of iron, so why not use all that iron to make pipes that heat up some salt or some other solid-liquid and they will have abundance of energy.

Aug 27, 2012
The main point of the paper (according to this write-up) seems to be to criticize increasing energy costs, rather than to figure out ways of solving the problems the poor are experiencing (of which, by the way, the authors are vague).

Unfortunately, the future trend for energy prices, around the world, for all sectors, is that they will increase. Groups that are sensitive to prices will be affected.

Since the write-up neglects to specify how poor people use most energy, I'll guess: refrigerators, maybe freezers, air conditioners (depending on climate), maybe clothes driers.

A little simple education would help (e.g. which appliances cost the most to operate, what are some alternatives).

Aug 27, 2012
the costs are rising because the energy generation has a nasty habit of consuming oxygen and releasing CO2; therefore my reply.

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