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More customers are joining the hardship program of energy providers because they cannot pay their bills on time (Bigstock)

The number of Australian households struggling to pay their electricity bills has grown by 50 per cent in just one year, with falling temperatures and rising prices pushing more families to the edge. Source: Daily Telegraph.

Data from Origin Energy revealed that as of May more than 70,000 families nationwide were forced to join the company’s hardship support program because they could not pay their bills on time — a 50 per cent increase since June 2022.

Competitor AGL previously reported another 19,500 people on their hardship program.

The company had a 14 per cent increase in customers seeking payment support from January to April 2023, compared with the same time last year.

Those numbers are expected to grow as temperatures drop and both providers again hike their prices on July 1.

Energy Australia did not reveal how many people had accessed their support but the operator has had to fork out 16 per cent more in assistance this year compared to last year.

St Vincent De Paul spokesman Gavin Dufty said working families were being forced to rely on charity support.

“People are making really tough decisions. Do they put food on the table or do they pay their medical costs? Do they pay their electricity bill or do they pay their rent or mortgage?” he said.

Mr Duffy said there was a need for a co-ordinated joint response from the industry, governments of all levels and the energy market bodies.


Lights out: 90,000 struggling Australian families fall into energy bill debt (By Angira Bharadwaj, The Daily Telegraph)