Energy Assistance Report 3rd Edition

Understanding the experience of Victorians dealing with energy hardship

Access to affordable, reliable energy is one of the key challenges facing governments, the energy sector, and consumers in 2023.

Victorians are increasingly struggling to afford their energy costs with the average energy debt among Victorian callers to the National Debt Helpline (NDH) in 2022 43% higher than in our previous report. Underpinning the growing hardship among energy callers is the current cost of living crisis. Thousands of Victorians will be turning off their heating and shivering through this winter as energy prices are set to soar.

This is the Consumer Action Law Centre’s third Energy Assistance Report, following our previous reports published in July 2019 and July 2021. These reports have tracked improvements in hardship assistance for Victorian energy customers since the introduction of the Payment Difficulty Framework, and highlighted the persistent gaps where people are not receiving the assistance they are entitled to that will help them manage their energy bills.

This report reviews NDH contact data from January to December 2022, and what our financial counsellors have reported from their conversations with people experiencing financial hardship. Of the 6,494 people who contacted the NDH in 2022, 697 (10.7% of the sample) mentioned energy debt as an issue.

Read the full report (PDF) and recommendations.

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