The Heatwaves, Homes & Health project investigated the impacts of electricity pricing and energy policy on heat vulnerable households.
The project involved research with 70 health and social services sector professionals, and from 36 potentially heat vulnerable households living in Cairns, Dubbo and Melbourne. Households with older occupants, chronically unwell occupants and infants were included.
The research reveals that self-rationing of air conditioning and fan use due to concerns about electricity costs is a widespread problem. It also highlights risks associated with public appeals to reduce electricity use during heatwaves if the elderly and unwell are not specifically excused from responding.
The research makes policy and program recommendations for the energy, housing, health, and social service sectors. It also calls for expanded understandings of vulnerability in energy policy.