Power Fight Back

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Today Tonight's Power Fightback Campaign:

If you feel you can't cut back any further and your power bill continues to soar, you can join our fightback.

Send us your bills to show how much they've gone up by and we'll forward your complaints on to the power companies.

Email to:
todaytonightadelaide@seven.com.au

Record numbers of households are now paying their power bills in installments; many more are teetering on the brink.

When Elies and Andrea Raish's electricity bill jumped by $200 to $940, they sacrificed small luxuries just to cope.

"During winter we've had the heaters on while the children have been up but when they go to bed I turn all the heaters off and we just sit with a hot water bottle and a blanket to keep warm."

Every single day they monitor their electricity and water meters.

"We've got a little calculator that we enter the meter readings in daily and it's worked out to be our next bill is going to be under $500, fingers crossed!"

Vikki Keen is also at breaking point - there's no explanation for her usual $350 power bill doubling.

"This last bill that turned up was $733. I was blown away," Viki said.

The soaring cost of electricity is leaving thousands like Vikki out in the cold, and it's going to get worse. A new report estimating households could be paying $50 a week for electricity in just 5 years.

A price hike in July bumped up the cost of electricity by around $170 a year - but by 2015 it's expected:

  • The average yearly electricity bill for a Queensland home will rise $870 to $2320.

  • In New South Wales, the average home will be slugged an extra $891, paying $2376 a year.

  • While bills in Victoria will increase by $812 to $2165.

But there is a way to beat the price rise - a simple energy audit could save you up to $460 a year.

Trevor Jack has joined 215,000 people sick of the price of power.

He signed up for the Queensland ClimateSmart Home Service scheme - which promises to slash power bills.

Electrician Robert Price audited Trevor's home with a wireless power which identifies where you're wasting power in and around your home.

"I don't think the power companies should be allowed to increase in 25% lots, it should be more regulated and spread out so everyone can cope," Robert Price said.

"People have given up on the government helping them out with power prices it's all DIY now they're doing whatever they can to get their power bill down."

A survey found 85% of us have changed the way we live to keep up with the rising power cost.

The Daily Telegraph's John Rolfe says: "I was shocked by the results I had no idea the problem was so severe or widespread. The reason that they tell us that power prices have surged is to pay for replacement of infrastructure, apparently all our substations are no good anymore.

"Well I don't buy it. I think the reason the money's being pumped in to our power system is they can make more money off our power system, fatten it up perhaps for privatisation down the road.

"If they want to do that they should pay for it."

Today Tonight Power Saving Tips:

  • Shorter showers (hot water makes up 1/3 of your power bill!)
  • Set your hot water thermostat to 60C on storage hot water systems or 50c on instantaneous systems.
  • Use a water efficient shower head.
  • Use daylight whenever you can.
  • Set your heater thermostat lower in winter and higher in summer - every degree costs an extra 10%
  • Turn appliances off at the power point when not in use.
  • Set your air conditioner to between 24C - 27C.
  • Shade windows and close blinds.
  • Clean air conditioner filters regularly.
  • Don't overload or under load your fridge.
  • Make sure the fridge seal is intact.
  • Defrost freezers regularly.
  • Use small appliances where you can - use the microwave over a conventional oven or stove, the toaster over the grill, the kettle over the hotplate.
  • Let frozen food thaw before you cook it.
  • Use low watt, energy efficient light globes.
  • Paint surfaces light colours.
  • Turn lights off when not needed.
  • Wash clothes with cold water.
  • Use one full load instead of several small ones.

  • Use a clothesline instead of a dryer.

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