Renters and Low-income Households Suffer Worse Through Weekend Heatwave
Renters, low-income households and apartment dwellers are sweltering through Sydney's heatwaves because of barriers to accessing cost-cutting rooftop solar says community group Solar Citizens.
“When the heat rises, many households rely on producing their own cheap solar power to afford to run their air conditioners,” says Shani Tager, Senior Campaigner with Solar Citizens.
Western Sydney local Eithandee Aung is one renter who uses air conditioning sparingly due to the high cost of electricity. “Even though I did my research before choosing a retailer, I still cringe every time I turn on my air conditioner because I’m worried about my next electricity bill,” says Ms Aung.
“I don’t turn on the air conditioner unless the temperatures become unbearable, like the 40 degrees we felt on Sunday.
“Without a doubt I would prefer to live in a house with solar so that I could have more control over my bills, but as a tenant I’m not in the position to put it on myself.”
There are many steps that the NSW Government can take to make sure that everyone can access clean, affordable solar according to Ms Tager.
“Rooftop solar could and should be accessible to everyone, and many barriers, including cost barriers, can be removed with sensible government initiatives”.
“Providing no-interest loans so that households can invest in solar and storage, as well as incentivising landlords to put on solar, are some of the steps that the government can take to help those struggling with their electricity bills.”
Another important step is to legislate a fair price for the clean power that solar owners feed back into the grid so that solar households don't get ripped off by the big retailers and have the certainty that they will get a fair price for their power.
“It's not just the individual households who benefit by going solar, the Solar Savings report commissioned by Solar Citizens showed that without the thousands of solar rooftops in NSW the wholesale price of power would have been 33-50% higher over a year-long period,” says Ms Tager.
“In just one year, solar helped save all NSW energy consumers a total of $2.2-3.3 billion.
“The NSW Government has an opportunity to help more people go solar, which will bring down the price for everyone.”
Media contact: Stephanie Gray 0425543006