With funding from Energy Consumers Australia, the Australian Energy Foundation undertook research with 30 Moreland households to understand the perspectives of households experiencing, or at risk of experiencing, energy hardship, i.e. difficulty in paying energy bills. AEF conducted in-depth interviews and home energy assessments to understand participants’ experience of energy hardship and appetite for a range of potential program models designed to unlock the benefits of renewable energy for vulnerable households.
Common themes included a low quality of energy efficiency standards in housing; low levels of energy literacy, including understanding of energy bills, energy efficiency and consumer rights; and low energy usage in participating homes. Participants viewed cheaper power as most beneficial to them, followed by solar panels, window shading, and draught proofing. Over half of participants said that access to renewable energy was important to them.
Participating households would derive benefit from insulation, draught proofing, and window shading/window coverings to improve comfort without the need to increase the use of heating or cooling. These households would also greatly benefit from better retail tariffs and energy information.
Based on this research, AEF recommends that energy efficiency upgrades in rental properties, energy information to increase energy literacy, and energy justice through energy efficiency and renewable energy would be beneficial elements to include in programs aiming to deliver benefits to households experiencing energy hardship.
Download the Perspectives on Moreland Power: Vulnerable consumer perspective on renewable energy program models report below: