One in eight Australian households are having difficulties in paying their electricity bills and nine out of ten want to go solar, a recent Ernst & Young survey reveals. The survey was conducted in more than 649 households in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria.
Ten per cent of the households surveyed admitted that rising electricity bills is the number one issue that is causing them the most stress at present. Nearly one third of those surveyed have missed making payments in their electricity bills in 2013.
In addition, more than 10 per cent of the households have missed more than three electricity bill payments. Being unable to afford payment is the main reason for 60 per cent of the households for missing their payments.
Likewise, these could also be the primary reason why those living in regional areas, (about 78%) and in urban areas (about 49%), are also missing their electricity bill payments.
Electricity cost stressing consumers
A large proportion of the household surveyed, about 70%, are often or occasionally worried about not being able to pay their energy bill. This figure has remained consistently high since the same survey was conducted last year.
The ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) revealed early this month that some household electricity bills had gone up by as much as $1,000 in the past five years. Jenny Young, of Ernst & Young said the survey is designed to determine how people are coping with increasing energy costs.
“Electricity prices are continuing to be a cause of financial stress for Australian consumers,” Jenny told the ABC. “Most are citing the reason for missing a bill to being unable to afford the payment, so that was the single biggest reason for not paying on time,” she added.
“It is causing concern, a lot of people are very worried about financial stress in general but electricity bills are one of the key financial stressors,” she explained.
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There are many households which are searching for better deals on electricity. About 48% are looking for information on the switching process. However, 42% of these households find it difficult to search for policies, tariffs and contracts and eventually gave up their search.
Consumers still see solar as the most desirable option
Despite the difficulties they encountered, many households are still determined to switch electricity retailers. Ernst and Young also found that customers’ desire for solar remains strong. Around 90% of Australians surveyed have already installed, or would consider installing solar systems.
Specifically, 19% of those surveyed are already using solar systems in their homes, 34% have already decided installing solar power, and around 36% have not yet made up their mind, but would be doing so in the future.
The chance to save money is the key factor that drives those who had already installed solar systems. But the high cost of installation of solar power is the main obstacle to those who are thinking of using one.
If only these latter types consider the financial assistance that they can get from manufacturers who offer zero deposits together with convenient payment plans, they will not hesitate to go solar.