Energy affordability

Many Australian households are struggling with high energy bills. Rising electricity network costs and high retail costs are driving up prices, magnifying affordability issues caused by inefficient homes and appliances.

We are working with government, energy companies, regulators and consumer groups to secure sustainable and affordable energy for all Australians. 

Our recent work includes:

  • delivering Your Energy Broker, a program of the Brotherhood of St Laurence and the Victorian Government to help eligible households find their best energy deal
  • an analysis of Australian fuel poverty using data from the Household Income Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey
  • a critique of the retail energy market and how well it serves the interests of low-income Victorians 
  • a national plan for affordable energy (developed in partnership with the Australian Industry Group, Choice, and the Energy Efficiency Council) to advocate for critical energy market reforms
  • and an investigation of the impacts of smart energy demand on consumers.

Featured report

Affordable clean energy for people on low incomes

By ACOSS and Brotherhood of St Laurence, 2019

This report models several policy solutions that would reduce the amount that Australians on low incomes spend on energy.

Read more »

Current and recent work

Submission to the Essential Services Commission regarding the Victorian Default Offer (for energy prices)

We support the proposal to offer a guaranteed fair price for electricity and gas, and argue that it needs to be affordable and easy to access. More »

Submission to Essential Service Commission regarding Victorian Default Offer draft advice

We responded further to the draft advice regarding the Victorian Default Offer, in April 2019. More »

Tackling climate change and energy affordability for low-income households

Australian Council of Social Service and Brotherhood of St Laurence, September 2018

Modelling shows that we can tackle energy affordability and reduce carbon emissions at the same time, but Energy Intensive Trade Exposed Industries (EITEs) must be included.

Read more »

Fuel poverty, household income and energy spending

Our research shows that identifying which Australian households are experiencing fuel poverty requires more than a single measure.

Read more »

Submission to the AEMC regarding the National Energy Retail Amendment (Advance notice of price changes) Rule 2018

We commented on the proposal to require retailers to give consumers advance notice about changes to retail price changes for energy. More »

Submission to the Australian Energy Regulator re Draft retail pricing information guidelines

We commented on proposals to provide clearer information to help consumers understand and compare energy plans from retailers. More »

Empowering disadvantaged households to access affordable, clean energy

A joint report from ACOSS, the Brotherhood of St Laurence and The Climate Institute shows the actions needed so that all Australians can access affordable, reliable and clean energy. More »

Submission to Essential Services Commission re payment difficulty framework new draft decision

We responded to the new draft of the payment difficulty framework proposed by Victoria's Essential Services Commission to protect energy customers. More »

Submission to the review of retail electricity and gas markets in Victoria

Victoria’s retail energy market is failing to deliver on its promise to consumers. The Brotherhood is keen to collaborate with the state government and others to develop workable solutions that can be shown to lower energy bills for low-income and vulnerable consumers. More »

Response to Safety net for Victorian energy consumers facing payment difficulties draft decision

We responded to Victoria's Essential Services Commission's draft decision regarding provision for households in energy hardship. More »

Submission to Essential Services Commission inquiry into the financial hardship arrangements of energy retailers

Energy is an essential service for Australians. The Brotherhood believes that the ultimate goal of energy retailers’ hardship arrangements should be that no customers are disconnected from energy supply and that customers are able to move out of hardship. More »

A critique of the Victorian Energy Retail Market

The retail electricity market is failing Victorians, according to a new report, A critique of the Victorian retail electricity market.

The report found that overall retailers' charges in Victorian electricity bills, which include metering, billing and marketing, rose by an average 212% over six years, from a range of $86 to $183 in 2008 to a range of $371 to $471 in 2014. More »

Smart demand, what's in it for consumers?

In this workshop hosted by the Brotherhood of St Laurence and Monash Sustainability Institute on 7 April 2014, participants discussed the benefits and potential pitfalls of smart demand. More »

Energy affordability and efficiency survey 2013

The Brotherhood of St Laurence, CHOICE and the Energy Efficiency Council all have the goal of improving the affordability of energy services. These three groups commissioned Essential Research to undertake a survey on energy affordability, building on work carried out by CHOICE in 2012. More »

Plan for affordable energy

The Brotherhood has joined the Australian Industry Group, CHOICE and the Energy Efficiency Council to seek decisive reforms to fix the electricity system and ease the burden on households and businesses. More »

The Brotherhood of St Laurence (BSL) acknowledges and understands its obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and recognises that all children and young people have the right to be treated with respect and care, and to be safe from all forms of abuse. BSL has a zero tolerance towards child abuse.
Read the official statement signed by the Executive Director.

The Brotherhood recognises the harm that family violence causes and that freedom from violence is a basic human right.
We will support our staff, volunteers, clients and the community if they experience violence.

Find out more about the work of the Brotherhood
Australian Aboriginal flag, a yellow circle on two horizontal black and red stripes

The Brotherhood of St Laurence acknowledges and recognises the Traditional Owners of the land upon which we live and work, and we pay our respects to their Elders both past and present.

Torres Strait Islander flag, an icon of a traditional headdress on blue, black and green stripes