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Energy Poverty For Low Income Power Users

Energy Poverty now a Reality for Low Income Power Users

We said it was happening and now we can prove it.

In 2007, householders in the lowest fifth income bracket spent 9.7 percent of their income on electricity, gas and other household fuels. This was up from 7.1 percent in 2007. Meanwhile those fortunate enough to be in the top fifth of the table spent only 1.7 percent of their income on household fuel and power.

How is this happening? Domestic electricity prices in 2003 averaged 16.41 cents per kilowatt hour but in 2006 the figure was 20.42 cents. A massive rise of 24% in just three years.

Domestic power users are now definitely subsidising commercial consumers, paying 46% more for electricity than businesses.

These stastistics, from the Household Economic Survey just released, and this year’s Energy Data File, paint a woeful picture for superannuitants and War Veteran pensioners as well as other low income groups.

The burden is still increasing, as new power stations and advanced metering are already adding to the cost of electricity supply. Carbon emissions pricing will add a further 2c/kWh or more to domestic power prices.

Grey Power is very concerned at this escalating encroachment upon the meagre financial resources of many in the lowest income group by powerful megalomaniacs of power and fuel producers, causing increasing hardship, health and mobility difficulties due to their ever increasing and uncontrolled charges. It is plain truth that many elderly are now unable to keep warm, feed themselves adequately and reach health providers. Some are even deprived of power altogether because of inability pay power bills; they are then disconnected.

Is this what we want or expect of a country like New Zealand? Is this what our Veterans fought for or what our elderly were promised back in the 1930s? – We were promised the ability to retire with dignity? Poverty of any kind is indignity.

Something must be done and done soon.

Graham Stairmand
President Grey Power Federation

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