Category Archives: Environment

Solar-powered Energy

Energy Debt: Soaring Power Bills Pushing Families into Crisis

Approximately 145,000 small businesses and homes in NSW are in a crisis due to the rising cost of power and owe power firms about $663 in unsettled power bills. The latest statistics indicate that 10% of the debtors owe at least $1500.

The situation is alarming and this has led to the state-run Energy and Water Ombudsman requesting family and friends of elderly consumers to get in touch with the service providers to negotiate a cheaper deal.

NSW Energy Debt

Data from the ombudsman’s office indicates that demands and requests from the affiliated consumers have increased by about 21% over the winter and autumn season. This period sees consumers turning up the heat to deal with the cold season.

Energy Debt

Increasing Debt

According to Ombudsman Janine Young, financially-vulnerable consumers always flood her office seeking redress to the energy debt. They complain about increasing debt, high bills and disconnections.

When speaking to the Daily Telegraph yesterday, she said that customers particularly the low-income earners, casual workers, and working poor are struggling to keep up with the rising power bills.

Losing a job means that you no longer can afford to pay the bills and this may as well lead to the inability to provide a decent warm meal to your kids.

Ms Young told the newspaper that the complaints have risen following the 20% increase in price announced in June this year. She encouraged family and friends to chip in and assist the elderly in footing the bills or renegotiating with the providers for a better deal.

Data from the Australian Energy Regulator

Data from the Australian Energy Regulator shows that 85,801 NSW households owe the service providers for unsettled electricity bills, whereas 44,854 households are yet to pay their gas bills.

The report further indicates that 11,245 small businesses have an electricity debt and 3175 have pending gas bills.

Craig Memery, a Public Interest Advocacy Centre spokesman cautioned that “ordinary Australians’’ are facing challenges in settling their power bills. The crisis isn’t just a financial problem to the battlers but and the average person, but also to the environment.

Solar-powered Energy

More people in Middle Australia are already struggling to make their mortgage payments, and the financial stress is becoming worse due to the energy debt.

The Ombudsman’s office lodged 23,613 complaints between 2016 and 2017, and this comprised of 6546 cases in April- June. This was a 20% increase compared to the same period last year.

Most customers complained about Origin Energy, a company whose underlying profit in 2016-2017 was $550 million. The firm had 4867 complaints filed against it, 3818 complaints targeted Energy Australia while 3607 grievances were directed at AGL.

The Solution

Energy saving efforts such as the use of solar power energy been strongly encouraged.

Many Australians are looking towards renewable energy solutions and eco-friendly devices such as low energy washing machines, fridges, and solar-powered water heaters to reduce costs.

How Solar Power can Reduce Your Environmental Impact

What comes to your mind when you see the sun?  Warmth, light, and life are words that commonly thought of, but electricity and energy are not. These perceptions, however, are slowly starting to shift.

The sun was worshiped in ancient times, and it is well known that without it life on our Earth would not exist. The radiance emitted by the sun benefits all animals and plants on the planets, and has helped life evolve into what we see before us today. With new solar technologies allowing us to more effectively make use of sunlight we now benefit from the warming rays of the sun more than ever before.

solarmap

A map showing the area required, if filled with solar panels with today’s technology, necessary to power the respective regions of the world.

We are all familiar with the term “solar energy”. Obviously, this denotes energy captured from sunlight. Now that we can efficiently and effectively utilize the suns energy to create power, there should be no need for traditional, dirty power plants and the masses of toxic pollution and radiation they emit. Solar panel technology has come a long way in recent years and it is now well known that a small array of panels could essentially power the entire world. Alas, the oil and mining corporate giants will not let it be so.

While large scale implementation of this sort of technology is unlikely as our global governance is controlled and owned by corporations, that doesn’t mean we can’t act on a local level to make a difference. Solar panel technology allows us to obtain electricity much cheaper than via traditional methods, and in a much more environmentally friendly way. It is cost-effective because the sun does not ask anything in return when we use its sunlight. It is readily available, when the sun is up, and solar energy can be stored in batteries for later use.

We all know that our planet suffers from a lot of environmental destruction and degradation. Energy coming from fossil fuels is one of the worst offenders when it comes to air, water and nuclear pollution. While we don’t support a carbon tax, it doesn’t mean we don’t care about the environment. Issues caused by excessive and unnecessary contamination of our environment are causing health issues, biodiversity imbalances and acidification of the ocean. While we can’t rely on our government to ween us off the fossil fuel bottle, we can take responsibility for ourselves and reduce our dependance on the system.

Let’s delve a little deeper into solar energy. It can be utilized through numerous means, with new technologies being created all the time. Most industrial buildings and residential homes with existing panels uses photo-voltaic solar cell panels. The mechanism utilized for these solar panel absorbs the sunlight and with the use of some semiconductors, converts it into usable energy. Another form of technology is used by bigger industrial plants where a number of mirrors or lens focus on a certain point where that magnanimous heat is converted into energy. This is an example of a concentrated solar energy.

Rooftop solar panelsSolar energy has a lot of benefits to mankind and our environment. Though at first there can be a large initial expense to purchase and install the solar panel set; it will pay off in the long run. Not having to pay an electricity bill each quarter is an awesome feeling.  Using solar energy also helps you a feel good, knowing you are doing your bit to help our suffering Mother Earth.

Solar cell usage also saves a lot of water, which is used in huge amounts at traditional power stations. By relying less on the electricity grid, you also reduce the load meaning less maintenance will be required using less oils and other toxic chemicals which also reduces pollution. While we realize these differences are only miniscule, if enough people do it it will make a big difference. A solar panel installation on your home can cost as little as $1500 and the long term financial, environmental and societal benefits are immeasurable.

We all need to do our part to help save the planet. While we can bicker and bitch about our two-party governance and their obvious bias towards big business with no regard for the environment, doing that isn’t helping things. Do your part by removing your dependance on them and help spread the word so that others can follow suit. If we all do our part, we won’t need to worry about carbon lies or unnecessary taxes.

Think globally, act locally. A motto for a better future.