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Pages tagged "Sally Wilson"

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.