Victorian energy companies have resumed disconnecting households at an alarming rate, despite the pandemic being far from over and cuts to JobSeeker and JobKeeper just around the corner.
New data from Victoria’s Essential Services Commission—released today—reveals 123 electricity users and 172 gas consumers had their services cut off by various retailers in January alone.
The disconnections are in stark contrast to a commendable lull last year, when no households were disconnected between April and November.
“These companies played nice during the height of the pandemic, but they’re already slipping back to their dodgy ways,” Victorian Council of Social Service CEO Emma King said.
“Thousands of Victorians are struggling to afford the basics. They’re worried about their jobs, their income and their next meal.”
“Now is not the time to be denying power or gas to people who can’t pay the bill.”
“Power companies must remember these customers are real people and energy is an essential service.”
Ms King said the move was out of touch.
“Disconnections are meant to be an absolute last resort, even in the best of times.”
“But anybody who thinks now is a good time to turn off somebody’s power is spending too much time in the boardroom, and not enough time in the real world.”