Australia homes are facing the paradox of dipping energy use and soaring energy bills. There has been a 61 percent increase in Australian household energy bills between 2008 and 2014. This was despite a sharp drop in home energy use.

According to the data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, energy use per household decreased 7 percent since 2002. “What we’ve been doing in the last few years is seeing the fruits of a number of government efforts that stretch back over a decade to enhance the energy efficiency of our homes and of the appliances we use,” Green Markets energy analyst Tristan Edis explained.

He said Australia homes have turned more energy efficient. Calling for better regulation of the monopoly power companies, he said, this is essential to avoid people paying more for the electricity than what they consume.

“The regulators took their eye off the ball starting in 2007 and let the electricity poles and wires companies — the electricity networks — go through a spending binge that turned out to be completely unnecessary,” Edis said.

Energy Users Association of Australia Chief Executive Phil Barresi also endorsed the view that that poles and wires had pushed up electricity costs substantially, reports ABC News. He noted that energy efficiency programs of various states had reduced energy consumption. But that is not reflecting in the prices.

John Bradley, chief executive of the Energy Networks Association also said network costs were at a high in the last few years. But he claimed they have stabilised since 2015 and are going down.

Many government initiatives for reducing energy usage had led to drastic reduction in the household energy consumption in Australia. The contention of analyst Edis that rising electricity bill is an over blown issue has created a ruckus, noted a report in Startsat Sixty.

“This was an overblown debate about the cost of electricity when in fact these are not the main drivers of cost in the economy,” he said.

“It’s been an absolute disgrace of our policy discussion that so much effort has gone into this issue when there are other things that are far more important,” Edis added.

But his views were criticized by many power consumers who pointed out that a 61 percent increase is certainly an important issue. The hard hit are fixed income earners such as pensioners and those living on government supplements.