Francis Logan

Francis Logan

Minister for Energy; Resources; Industry and Enterprise

    Public feedback sought on 'utility hardship'

    19/12/2007 8:34 PM
     
    19/12/07

    A working group established to improve the delivery of essential services to the community’s most disadvantaged people has released an issues paper for public comment.

    Energy Minister Francis Logan, who established the inter-agency working group in June this year, said public feedback on the range of issues highlighted in the issues paper was critical in informing Government policy.

    Mr Logan said the main focus of the working group was on ‘utility hardship’ - where customers struggled to pay for basic services like water, gas and electricity.

    “Access to utilities is important in facilitating social participation and ensuring adequate standards of living in our community,” he said.

    “We want to further improve the delivery of these services to those in genuine hardship.

    “The working group has identified that ‘utility hardship’ is a complex issue within the broader issue of financial hardship and needs the involvement of organisations from all sectors.”

    The issues paper covers a broad range of issues, including:
    • a utility hardship policy framework for both Government and utilities;
    • whether disconnections and service restrictions should be permitted;
    • the processes required before a utility restricts supply to a customer;
    • the water and energy efficiency programs needed to assist those in hardship; and
    • inter-agency co-ordination, management and resolution of utility hardship.
    The working group includes representatives of the Office of Energy, the Department of Child Protection, the Department of Housing and Works, the Department of the Premier and Cabinet, the Department of Treasury and Finance, Synergy, Horizon Power, Water Corporation and the Department of Water.

    The issues paper is available from the Office of Energy at http://www.energy.wa.gov.au/ or by phoning (08) 9420 5600.

    Submissions should be sent to the Office of Energy at utilityhardship@energy.wa.gov.au by 5pm on February 29, 2008. The final report is due in the middle of 2008.

    Minister's office - 9222 8950