A retirees lobby group says it fears pensioners in western New South Wales will cut back on essentials such as food and medication in order afford for the rising cost of electricity.
The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal is recommending that the price of electricity is increased by 16 per cent starting this July.
The Combined Pensioner and Superannuants Association of New South Wales says rebates are not enough to relieve the pressure on regional customers, who are charged more due to the higher costs of infrastructure outside the city.
The Association’s spokesman, Antoine Mangion, says many low income households are unable to cut their costs because they do not have the capacity to reduce their usage.
“One thing we do no, a lot of pensioners fear what might happen, the repercussions of not paying their bills,” he said.
“So they will often pay their electricity bill for example, and go without other essentials such as reduce food or even medications in some instances.
“So unfortunately these have very major repercussions in many instances.”
He says the available concessions will only rise by $10 a year, but the rebates should be indexed to electricity prices.
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“We’ve been calling for IPART to set and review energy and other concessions and rebates provided to pensioners and other households.
“We believe that this would create a fairer system which takes out the politics that’s often involved in concessions and rebates and would create a fairer and more sustainable concession system.”