Energy insecurity during temperature extremes in remote Australia

Southern Cross - Krystal Hurst

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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 the services that access to electricity provides, and the risk of those services being disconnected.

Building upon the work of Tangentyere Research Hub, and together with researchers from Julalikari AC and the Australian National University, this research uses daily smart meter data for 3,300 households who pre-pay for electricity to assess the relationship between temperature, electricity use and involuntary self-disconnection across 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 zone 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 are required to reduce the frequency, duration and negative effects of disconnection from pre-pay energy services.



Brad Riley is a Research Fellow at the Australian National University’s Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research (CAEPR) and works on the ANU Grand Challenge Zero Carbon Energy in the Asia-Pacific investigating First Nations benefit in the energy transition.

Date & time

Wed 31 Aug 2022, 12–1pm



Brad Riley


Tracy Deasey


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