Energy has been dominating headlines recently for various reasons such as soaring electricity prices, blackouts in South Australia, the closing of coal-fired power stations like Hazelwood and our switch to more renewable sources of power. While we struggle with our rising power bills, we are also faced with conflicting messages about the reasons for rising prices and the best ways to solve the problem.

Energy has been dominating headlines recently for various reasons such as soaring electricity prices, blackouts in South Australia, the closing of coal-fired power stations like Hazelwood and our switch to more renewable sources of power.

For the average Australian, the most concerning issue would be the rising price of electricity. Soaring prices have affected us immensely and has led to a large increase in the number of disconnections in recent years and more households are rationing energy to the detriment of their health and well-being. Indeed, the issue has become a crisis. Since energy is an essential service through which we heat and cool our homes, cook, and connect with our communities via technology, rising prices means that a basic and essential human need is becoming out of reach for some.

While we struggle with our rising power bills, we are also faced with conflicting messages about the reasons for rising prices and the best ways to solve the problem. For example, why are we one of the major sources of energy in the world, yet charge our households and businesses more to use that energy than the countries to which we export our energy to? Must we keep coal-fired power plants open in order to guarantee the reliability of our energy? And what does this mean for the environment and our need to meet our international obligations to reduce emissions?

Efforts to provide access to affordable, reliable and clean energy – dubbed the ‘energy trilemma’ – are failing on all fronts. While politicians debate about how to solve the energy crisis, what can we, as consumers, do to ensure the affordability, quality, safety, reliability and security of our energy?

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