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Pages tagged "Lee V. White"

Connected: rooftop solar, prepay and reducing energy insecurity in remote Australia

Australia is a world leader in per-capita deployment of rooftop solar PV with more than three million households realising benefits including reduced energy bills and improved energy security. However, these benefits are unevenly distributed. Research shows First Nations residents of public housing in remote Australia using prepay metering experience frequent ‘self-disconnection’ from energy services, a known indicator of energy insecurity. Upfront capital costs and an absence of local regulations codifying the ability to connect solar PV have long locked out these households from realising benefits of energy transition in regions host to world class renewable energy generation potential. This article describes early experiences of those residents among the first to install and grid-connect rooftop solar to prepay in Australia’s remote Northern Territory. In addition to reduced electricity expenditures, rooftop solar PV mitigates experiences of energy insecurity through reducing the incidence of involuntary ‘self-disconnection’ due to inability to pay. Support for rooftop solar for prepay households can alleviate frequent exposure to disconnection, bringing multiple co-benefits. Policy responses should focus on reducing barriers to realising the benefits of rooftop PV for priority communities, including First Nations families living in public housing using prepay.

By Bradley Riley, Lee V. White, Simon Quilty, Thomas Longden, Norman Frank Jupurrurla, Serena Morton Nabanunga & Sally Wilson (2023) Connected: rooftop solar, prepay and reducing energy insecurity in remote Australia, Australian Geographer, DOI: 10.1080/00049182.2023.2214959


Disconnected during disruption: Energy insecurity of Indigenous Australian prepay customers during the COVID-19 pandemic

In Australia, early pandemic safeguards against electricity disconnection were successful in temporarily protecting most people. However, their application was uneven. For remote-living Indigenous community residents, who are required by policy or elect to use prepay metering and are known to experience frequent ‘self-disconnection’, energy insecurity continued as the impacts of the pandemic accrued. The risks associated with the regular de-energization of prepay households have long been overlooked by government reporting and this contributed to a lack of visibility of energy insecurity and available protections for this group during the pandemic response. In contrast to the rest of Australia, energy insecurity in the form of disconnections remained unrelentingly high or worsened for prepay households during this time. COVID-19 magnifies pre-existing health and socio-economic inequities. There is a need to pay closer attention to the rationales and impacts of energy policy exceptionalism if we are to mitigate the potential for compounding impacts of energy insecurity among specific groups, such as Indigenous Australian prepay customers, including during times of crisis.

 

By Bradley Riley, Lee V. White, Sally Wilson, Michael Klerck, Vanessa Napaltjari-Davis, Simon Quilty, Thomas Longden, Norman Frank Jupurrurla, and Morgan Harrington.


Energy insecurity during temperature extremes in remote Australia

Indigenous communities in remote Australia face dangerous temperature extremes. These extremes are associated with increased risk of mortality and ill health. For many households, temperature extremes increase both their reliance on those services that energy provides, and the risk of those services being disconnected. Poor quality housing, low incomes, poor health and energy insecurity associated with prepayment all exacerbate the risk of temperature-related harm. Here we use daily smart meter data for 3,300 households and regression analysis to assess the relationship between temperature, electricity use and disconnection in 28 remote communities. We find that nearly all households (91%) experienced a disconnection from electricity during the 2018–2019 financial year. Almost three quarters of households (74%) were disconnected more than ten times.

Households with high electricity use located in the central climate zones had a one in three chance of a same-day disconnection on very hot or very cold days. A broad suite of interrelated policy responses is required to reduce the frequency, duration and negative effects of disconnection from electricity for remote-living Indigenous residents.

 

This paper was written by Thomas Longden, Simon Quilty, Brad Riley, Lee V. White, Michael Klerck, Vanessa Napaltjari Davis and Norman Frank Jupurrurla.