Though we sometimes don’t think about it; energy, particularly electricity, is essential to our daily lives. Access to this service underpins our health, wellbeing and general quality of life. But increasingly many households across our state are struggling to afford its high and growing cost. NCOSS spoke to people and families doing it tough across NSW, hearing from people living below the poverty line on their experience and what would make a real difference for them.
The picture is a sobering one. We heard about vulnerable households going to extreme lengths to ration and afford energy costs. We heard about individuals, and even families with children, skipping meals, delaying health treatment or purchasing medication, not using hot water and going to bed early to save energy in order to pay their energy bills. Having reduced their energy usage below acceptable community standards, we heard about people then getting into debt, selling personal items, and going without a range of household essentials just to keep the lights on.