An estimated 125,000 South Australian households will be directly impacted by the Australian Energy Regulator’s final default market offer which was announced today.
The DMO will increase prices by 23.9% from 1 July for the 7% (60,000) of SA households on a standing offer. Another estimated 65,000 households receiving the State Government and Origin Energy’s Concession Energy Discount Offer (SACEDO), will see their bill leap by up to 30 percent due to the DMO increase. The 14.9% of SA small businesses on a standing offer will face a 28.9% increase.
“We are worried that this increase will result in people being forced to ration their energy use, live in cold houses, go further into debt, and face disconnection and homelessness. These are unacceptable outcomes and the government must act to address long-term energy affordability,” SACOSS CEO Ross Womersley says.
“Energy efficiency is an important part of the energy affordability problem, we continue to call for minimum energy efficiency standards for existing households and for the government to help fund these retrofits, particularly for those who can’t afford them.
“The state government must also act on reforming our concessions system, expanding eligibility and introducing percentage-based energy concessions to keep pace with rising prices and cost of living pressures.
“In the middle of a cost of living and housing crisis, those who can least afford it will be hit hard by these increasing energy prices. We know people are at breaking point, going without food and medicines to pay the bills and try to keep a roof over their heads. At a time when every dollar counts, there is no room in their budget for more expensive services that are essential to life.
“The increase in the DMO may be somewhat offset by the one-off $500 bill relief for eligible customers – but there are many who need help who will miss out.
"Ultimately concessions and one-off relief packages can only go so far. They don't address some of the root causes for why South Australians are seeing their bills climb beyond what they can afford.
“An urgent, mass rollout of energy efficiency upgrades for our households is essential to minimise power price pain during this cost of living crisis, and future-proof our homes."
The DMO is not designed to be the cheapest offer in the market, but to reduce unjustifiably high standing offer prices and to protect consumers from unreasonable prices.
SACOSS encourages consumers to call their retailer to ensure they’re on the best plan, and check online or ring the state government’s Concessions Hotline on 1800 307 758 to see if they are eligible for concessions or next financial year’s one-off energy bill relief payment of up to $500.
Consumers should ask their retailer for help if they are struggling to pay their bills. Retailers are legally obliged to offer a payment plan or hardship supports. It is illegal for consumers to be disconnected if they are keeping to a payment plan or on a retailer’s hardship program.