NTCOSS questions power/water costs
A peak welfare group has found power and water is too costly for some in NT.
The Northern Territory Council of Social Service’s annual Cost of Living Report calls for an extension to concession schemes and government assistance.
It says the report has found that while electricity prices have dropped in recent years and water tariffs remain among the cheapest in the nation, the high use of water and power and low disposable incomes continues to put families under pressure.
“The NT still has the highest weekly expenditure on utilities at approximately $65 per week,” council policy advisor Jonathan Pilbrow said.
“This high expenditure is driven by the unavoidable need to cool and heat houses against the NT's temperature extremes.”
The lowest-income households in the NT spend 6.3 per cent of their disposable income on electricity, gas and other household fuels.
That means some families have to disconnect for periods of time.
“They are forced to interrupt activities such as cooking, bathing, washing clothes and charging electrical items,” said Mr Pilbrow.
NTCOSS says the Northern Territory government should do more to help low-income households and individuals with utility bills.
It suggested extending electricity concessions to all Centrelink Health Care Card holders, while also increasing increase access to renewable sources of power, including solar, for lower-income households.