Power shock: New England residents slugged a third more for electricity than city

NEW England residents are being slugged nearly 30 per cent more on electricity bills than their Sydney counterparts, a damning new study has revealed.

Proving the city-country divide is alive and well, data from consumer advocate One Big Switch shows an average four-person New England household using 7000kWh a year on the standard rate would pay $2897, while a family in the south of Sydney would pay $2179 for the same usage – a difference of more than $700.

It comes as locals prepare to face a long, hot summer in the region, with electricity rates at record high levels.

One Big Switch campaigns director Christopher Zinn said it was now more critical than ever that locals shopped around for the best deal.

“People are going to get record power bills this summer – the highest they’ve ever been,” Mr Zinn said.

“More than 40 per cent of people in the country are on the regulated rate for power, which is crazy.

“Those people could automatically save $400 a year simply by contacting their provider and asking for a discount. They could do it online and it would only take five or six minutes.

“People think it’s complicated, but it’s very simple.”

He said residents in the Essential Energy zone, encompassing Tamworth and surrounds, were forced to pay a higher daily supply charge because the costs of delivering electricity in the bush were higher than in the city.

The NSW government has refused to follow the lead of the Queensland government, which subsidises power costs in the bush to bring them in line with city prices.

William Coulston and his partner moved from Sydney to Tamworth 12 months ago and he said his power bills had almost doubled.

“We just paid a $900 bill and there’s only three of us in the house,” Mr Coulston said.

“Our hot water and our cooling is on gas and it just seems so unfair.

“I don’t understand why we pay more; it all comes from the same grid.

“It’s like petrol – you just seem to pay more in the country.”

He said rather than dramatically cut back his power use and sweat his way through summer, he would endure high bills.

“You just have to cop it on the chin if you want to live comfortably,” he said.

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