Rise of power prices burden those on fixed income

PRICE RISE: Apex Homes residents Jennifer McKenna and Fay Moore say rising energy prices are a burden on fixed incomes. Photo: Toby Vue
PRICE RISE: Apex Homes residents Jennifer McKenna and Fay Moore say rising energy prices are a burden on fixed incomes. Photo: Toby Vue

Apex Homes resident Fay Moore says she is concerned by recent energy price rises.

She says the increases are a drain on fixed incomes of senior citizens and low earners.

On July 1, ActewAGL’s electricity price rose about 15 per cent and its gas by 11.5 pc.

The rise came about the same time that EnergyAustralia and Origin Energy increased their electricity prices by 20 pc and 15 pc, respectively, for NSW residential homes.

“We’re on a set income and I’ve seen the rising trend every quarter,” Ms Moore said.

She said the rise was despite her continual efforts to minimise her power usage.

With 40 units at Apex Homes, Ms Moore said she was concerned “not only for myself, but also my fellow residents”.

We’re on a set income and I’ve seen the rising trend every quarter.

Fay Moore, Apex Homes resident

Secretary of Apex Homes John Heggart shared her concerns.

“Yass Apex Homes provides low-cost units for senior citizens,” he said.

“Any increase in gas and electricity prices impact their quality of life, given that most of them are on limited income. I’m aware that some are very conscious and don’t turn appliances on as frequently as they used to because of costs.”

Fellow Yass resident Rebecca Duncan, who said she had also been conscious of minimising energy use, said “I sympathise with other residents”.

“Imagine what low-income households and older citizens are going through,” she said.

Ms Duncan said her July electricity bill “has gone up a lot compared with last year”.

“We don’t understand because we’re not using the dryer anymore and our house is facing north, so it’s an energy efficient,” she said.

ActewAGL general manager of retail Ayesha Razzaq said Yass Valley residents could call the company’s helpline (13 12 93).

“Our main message to Yass Valley customers is if you’re struggling to make ends meet, don’t go without energy,” Ms Razzaq said.

“Our helpline team offers information about pricing plans and potential concessions, plus advice on energy efficiency, which can equal savings on bills.”

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Treasurer Scott Morrison and Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg met with eight power companies on August 9 to discuss retail prices.