Pensioners Gary and Vera Gladman going over the skyrocketing power bills they are struggling to pay.
Pensioners Gary and Vera Gladman going over the skyrocketing power bills they are struggling to pay. Sharyn Oneill

High electricity leaves couple mad

NO MATTER how much the Gladmans scrimp and save, each time they receive their power bill they say it feels like an electric shock.

Gary, 56, and Vera, 46, struggle to survive on their fortnightly pension.

And every week when Vera sits down in their living room, furnished with goods sourced from Trendy Trash at the Rockhampton Landfill, to meticulously organise the couple’s finances, she puts aside $20 for electricity.

But it’s simply never enough.

“Our average power bill is between $300 and $350,” Vera said.

“But the last one was $438.”

And after paying immediate costs, such as fuel, medication, and groceries, they are often left penniless.

Minister for Energy and Water Utilities Stephen Robertson defended the State Government and said electricity prices were set by the independent Queensland Competition Authority.

Queenslanders can expect a jump of 5.83% from July onwards if a draft determination goes through.

Mr Robertson said the cost of supplying electricity was increasing across Australia, but Queensland was cheaper than Victoria, New South Wales, Tasmania and South Australia.

“As Queensland’s population grows and use of energy-hungry appliances like air- conditioners and plasma TVs increases, energy demand skyrockets,” he said.

“For example, a decade ago one in four Queensland households had an air-conditioner.

“Today, three in every four homes have at least one air-conditioner.” Gary questioned if this meant he and his wife should sit in the sweltering heat. “We only use it when we have to,” he said.

“It’s like we’re losing our quality of life.”

YEARLY ENERGY PRICE RISES

2007 – 2008: 11.37%

2008 – 2009: 9.06%

2009 – 2010: 11.82%

2010 – 2011: 13.29%



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