September is already on track to be a hard month for Australians with the federal government’s JobKeeper program expected to come to a grinding halt.
Now experts, including Greenlister Australian Energy Foundation’s chief executive officer Alison Rowe, are warning that households can expect an enormous winter energy bill caused by stay-at-home social distancing restrictions.
Rowe’s organisation is working hard to steer Australian households clear of this iceberg, with plans to expand its energy advice centre – which provides energy tips and tricks, helps customers secure a better deal with their retailer and connects them with trusted solar and energy upgrades installers, all in a 20-minute phone consultation – so it can be accessed by more people.
At the moment, the organisation offers these services to households in select postcodes through deals with certain councils. Since the pandemic set in, two energy distributors, Jemena and TasNetworks, have taken up the service to offer to their customers.
The influx of interest has prompted the organisation to put on more staff to deal with additional calls but AEF doesn’t plan to stop there. Alison wants to see all governments take up the energy advice service and has crunched the numbers to show the benefits of expanding the program Australia-wide.
She says an investment of $19.4 million into a free energy advice hotline will inject $232.3 million into the economy and create 3800 jobs (through referred solar installations and the like), and save households $72.2 million on energy bills.