FRUSTRATED Border residents are going to extreme lengths to combat rapidly rising power bills.
For the past three months Adam Flanagan has resorted to switching his power off at the mains each morning before leaving for work in a bid to stop the crippling effects of the July 1 price rise.
Yet despite curbing his usage, Mr Flanagan still received a quarterly power bill of $864.76 this month, which was $100 more than the corresponding period last year.
He is among the thousands of NSW power users reeling in the wake of the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal giving energy companies the green light for a 19.7 per cent price slug.
The regulator has blamed rising network costs and the cost of compliance with federal and state government green schemes for the latest rise, including the carbon tax.
Now customers like Mr Flanagan are staring down the barrel of financial hardship and struggling to find alternative ways to cut costs.
Mr Flanagan says his neighbours must be getting sick of the screeching metal noise of the power board opening every morning and night.
He switches his hot water to night rate, turns off his heating leaving only his fridge running.
His electric heater is used sparingly, for a only couple of hours each night before bed.
He invested in blankets and thermals for himself and his son.
Despite all these measures, the bill for his two-bedroom unit still rocketed.
“When I opened it I thought ‘there’s got to be a mistake’,” Mr Flanagan told The Border Mail.
“I felt ill … I feel like I’m getting robbed and there’s nothing I can do.”
What baffled him most is the graph on his bill which compares his average daily electricity usage this quarter with the same quarter last year.
His usage was down yet his bill had gone up.
The Border Mail contacted Origin to find out if turning the power off at the mains was an effective method of saving on power bills.
A spokesman said it was impossible to tell unless an audit was done of the apartment’s appliances and insulation.
After checking Mr Flanagan’s most recent bill, an Origin spokeswoman ruled out any billing errors.
The bill would have been affected by the power price rise but only for the period from July 1.
With plans to study at university now shelved, Mr Flanagan said he had few options left.
“I’m going to either go all gas or all solar or move into a smaller place,” he said.
“If I wasn’t a grown man I’d cry.”
Adam Flanagan has taken measures to actively cut down his power bill, like switching his power off each day at the mains, yet he is still being hit with high bills. Picture: TARA ASHWORTH
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