Welfare groups say a rise in electricity bills will put more pressure on South Australia’s low-income families.
The Australian Energy Regulator has approved a 4.4 per cent increase in network charges, which means an average household bill is likely to increase by $85 annually after next month.
SA Power Networks had sought a 5 per cent rise.
Mark Henley of Uniting Communities says many people will struggle to meet the rise in their cost of living.
“I think the State Government needs to take on board that households are really struggling, they cannot be increasing state costs and charges,” he said.
“It also means that concessions actually need to go up. We know the state budget’s tight but we know a lot of household budgets are even tighter.
“We’re seeing higher levels of disconnections which we think is quite intolerable, so we’re seeing pretty tough stuff happening for a growing number of households.”
Ross Womersley of the South Australian Council of Social Service says people are being forced into drastic measures when their incomes are not rising at the same rate as cost of living.
“We know that people are switching off their electricity, not using it in an effort to save and this price increase will simply result in more people doing that, which places their health and other parts of their lives in jeopardy,” he said.