The price of electricity in Australia has increased by 117%, or 76% in real terms, in the last decade. Meanwhile the price of gas increased by 89%, or 53% in real terms. These high prices are being felt across the economy, by industry, by farmers, by business and by households.

Households living with low incomes or experiencing disadvantage, who are paying disproportionately more of their income on energy than the national average, are more likely to experience energy stress. Combined with the current housing affordability crisis, low wage inflation, long-term unemployment and only one job for every eight people looking for paid work, higher energy costs have had serious consequences for some households. Some have been tipped over the edge, and are going without heating and cooling, meals, and other basic essentials in order to afford their energy bills.

To inform the development of appropriate policy solutions, policymakers need to better understand who is most impacted by high electricity prices.

ACOSS and the Brotherhood of St Laurence (BSL) commissioned Associate Professor Ben Phillips, from the ANU Centre for Social Research and Methods, to analyse the cost of energy (electricity and gas) for a range of household types in Australia. The modelling is based on the Household Expenditure Survey (HES) undertaken by the ABS, and includes trends between 2008 and 2018.

Editor's note:

This is one of three reports in a series on improving support for low-income households through the transition to clean energy. The other two reports can be found at:

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