Let’s talk: The real reason you’re not able to afford your power bill

The high cost of living has been an issue for many Australians for a long time now, and it looks

The high cost of living has been an issue for many Australians for a long time now, and it looks like the effects are even more serious than previously thought.

New data commissioned by St Vincent de Paul Society has found that the reason thousands of Aussies are having their power cut off is not because of the cost of electricity, but because of the high cost of living.

People literally can’t afford to pay their power bills and afford to put food on the table and front up the money for rent or a mortgage every month.

The results from the data are worrying to say the least and show that something needs to be done to address the issue.

But who should be responsible for this?

Some have suggested it’s time the government addressed the problem and worked out a way to lower the cost of living across the country – particularly for families and pensioners who are doing it tough.

Despite a lot of talk about negative gearing, tax and superannuation, addressing the cost of living hasn’t been a big focus in the election campaign over the past few weeks, leaving people to wonder if anything will be done to help voters across the country.

The data from St Vincent’s shows that towns in rural New South Wales as well as outer Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide suburbs had the most disconnections over a three-year period.

Gavin Dufty, St Vincent de Paul Society’s manager of policy and research unit, said it showed the cost of housing, food and transport were making it difficult for people to pay their bills.

“We thought there would be a stronger relationship between energy price changes and disconnections. That doesn’t appear to be the case,” he told the ABC.

“I think the story out of this is that energy is just one part of a household budget and people struggle with mortgage costs, rental costs, transport costs and a number of other things.”

Do you struggle to afford the cost of living? Who do you think should be responsible for fixing this issue?

  1. Helen  

    I thought I was doing some thing wrong when I had to get extensions on my bills now I know that its not just me thank you

    • Carol weir  

      We are the same always asking for extensions have never had to do this until we retired

  2. I pay $360 a week rent and I am on a pension. I do share with a mate so that helps reduce costs but we are finding that we cant afford to pay utility bills, rent and food cost anymore so we are looking for cheaper housing, Unfortunately most of the housing that we can afford are dumps. Im not sure what the answer is to the problem but somebody needs to do something to help. Cheers Mike

  3. Carol samata  

    Wouldn’t manage at all if it weren’t for my son I share a large house with him for a low rent and he pays all the bills bless him, in return I’m there to look after his dog when he’s away for work I also buy most of the food and cook, not all the time, thank god we have a good relationship

  4. I am 60, unemployed because of my age and the mining downturn. I don’t work in The resource industry, but I am affected by this. I have two mortgages, no work and try and survive on my military pension. I have one home on the market to dispose of and my residence will, in due course go to the bank. Struggle??? Probably not as bad as others, but I am feeling it.

    How do we fix it?? Charity begins at home. Remember the grey voter enlightenment of the past? It needs to be rebirthed. Over sixties have a huge amount of voting power. We all should use it and only need a leader amongst us to champion the cause, just like PAULINE Hanson has done…….get on with it folks.

    • Michael check out Mature Australia Party. http://themap.org.au/
      And there are many minor parties & Independents who wish to do the right thing by
      australian pensioners. Let’s face it they (both parties) stole our pension so why would they care about us. And you’re right the grey vote is a powerful block if harnessed.

  5. John Rolfe  

    I am 61 working full time it’s always a struggle to survive, for all the people who earn the big bucks there’s always the ones who earn the basic. I often wonder how I will live when and if I retire. I think frugal will be something I may have to learn about. Two divorces have seen of my fortune.

  6. We’ve cut back on food. Our kids are always peering into our fridge and clicking their tongues. When they pop in they nearly always bring us something like half a pumpkin or a box of tomatoes. We could live the high life, but that would mean the end of our savings and then we’d be in real trouble.

  7. Sue  

    My ex-partner (& carer) & I share a 3 bedroom single level townhouse in the Albury region. Rent is $250 per fortnight each, the bills are paid every fortnight in advance, usually resulting in credits. Our energy supplier (both gas & electricity) give us 15% discounts to pay before the bill due date. This also turns into a hefty sum credited to our bills each year (it is better than the current interest rates). This is the way we have been paying our bills since my ex was retrenched 6 years ago and will keep on doing this. We have never had to ask for an extension to pay any accounts. We still have enough each fortnight to put a modest sum away into a saviings account for a rainy day.

    Go onto the internet and check out the energy companies which service your area. Sometimes there are some that will offer discounts if you pay your account on time. Our energy supplier gives us a 15% discount on both electricity & gas if we pay our account in full by the due date. Check with your energy supplier and ask if they also offer discounts. If they don’t, say that you will take your business elsewhere, then they might come to the party. I have requested a payment card for our accounts and have commenced paying the bills in advance.

    My only recommendation for the above is that try to keep your accounts up to date and fully paid by the time the due date occurs. Then the companies will look at you in a different light and welcome your custom.

    The discounts we receive are better than the interest we can earn on any savings account going around – usually around 1.25 – 1.75% which is a massive difference to the 15% discounts we receive.

    There have been times that we have been so far in advance that we don’t need to pay anything towards the next bill, which frees up further funds for our savings.

  8. Frank  

    for old folk struggling with high rents – a growing future is sharing – whether with young people in cities – they do some chores in exchange for cheaper rent – or old folk sharing together for reduced costs and more caring and companionship

    of course this won’t work with curmudgeons – if you are intolerable to live with, you probably won’t tolerate living with anyone else – if you are pleasant company, chances are you’ll enjoy the pleasant company of someone else.

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