Power bills hit the roof

ANYONE who parked themselves under the arctic blast of an airconditioning unit to beat yesterday’s record-breaking heat will pay a heavy price when it comes time to settle their next power bill.

Tamworth residents are slugged some of the highest electricity prices in the country, according to the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal, and many are feeling the pinch.

Mother-of-four Terrie Holz admits she is struggling to cope financially with the rising cost of energy demanded by a modern family home, despite having $10,000 worth of solar panels installed.

Earlier this year, Ms Holz was crowned Australia’s most “cheated on” energy user during a campaign to highlight people’s shoddy treatment at the hands of electricity retailers after her energy bills rose by 569 per cent.

She said the 16 solar panels she won in the nation-wide competition had made little difference, with her bills still ranging from $900 to $1100 each quarter.

“I expected it to be dramatically cheaper but no, we’re still clocking up pretty much the same as what we were,” she said.

“Nothing has changed usage-wise. We still have the pool pump on when it needs to be and the fridges and freezers, but nothing excessive.”

Ms Holz said she was at a loss to understand why Tamworth residents were forced to pay more for electricity than people in remote areas.

“For a necessity, it’s out of reach for a lot of people,” she said.

“It’s one of the basic things in life that we do need.

“I was amazed when I was doing the stuff for that competition to learn that electricity costs more in Tamworth than it does at Ayers Rock (Uluru) – how does that work?”

Posters on The Leader’s Facebook page revealed they were having to make significant sacrifices in order to keep their bills down.

Cilla Green said she relied on ceiling and pedestal fans as she could not afford airconditioning, while Emma Condrick said her solution to using less power in summer was filling the bath with cold water and sitting her five kids in there to cool off.

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