Cold re­al­ity of power

Ris­ing en­ergy costs see res­i­dents in bed early, us­ing pub­lic fa­cil­i­ties to stay warm

Myrtleford Times - - Front Page -

LO­CAL res­i­dents are go­ing to bed ear­lier than usual be­cause they can’t af­ford to pay for heat­ing costs, ac­cord­ing to lo­cal state MP, Tim McCurdy (MLA, Ovens Valley).

Peo­ple at­tend­ing en­ergy fo­rums in Myrtle­ford and Bright as well as Wan­garatta, Yar­ra­wonga and Co­bram last week have de­scribed how ris­ing en­ergy bills are im­pact­ing their daily lives.

Mr McCurdy, ac­com­pa­nied by Shadow Min­is­ter for En­ergy and Re­sources, In­no­va­tion and Re­new­ables David South­wick, or­gan­ised the fo­rums, and said it was clear the ris­ing cost of en­ergy is hav­ing a se­ri­ous im­pact on Ovens Valley res­i­dents.

“Those in at­ten­dance told how peo­ple feel fright­ened to use elec­tric­ity be­cause of the cost - that they are go­ing to places like the town li­brary where it is warm dur­ing the day rather than putting the heater on at home,” he said.

“There are lo­cal res­i­dents who are turn­ing off the heat­ing and lights at night and go­ing to bed early be­cause they sim­ply can’t af­ford the en­ergy costs.”

Mr McCurdy said other is­sues raised at the fo­rums in­cluded the low feed in tar­iff for so­lar, that renters and those most in need of as­sis­tance are be­ing ex­cluded from Labor’s so­lar panel scheme, and that scams are al­ready emerg­ing as a re­sult of the pro­gram.

“Most peo­ple in­di­cated they have no­ticed a huge in­crease in their en­ergy bills in the past 18 months,” he said.

“Res­i­dents also raised con- cerns about the amount of per­sonal in­for­ma­tion they are re­quired to pro­vide to Labor’s en­ergy com­pare web­site and the mar­ket­ing tac­tics of en­ergy re­tail­ers.”

Mr South­wick said that the high cost of en­ergy was hurt­ing all Vic­to­ri­ans.

“From mums and dads to small business to big in­dus­try – they are all feel­ing the pinch and that has im­pacts across the state,” he said.

“Pre­mier Daniel An­drews shut down Hazel­wood re­mov­ing 22 per cent of power gen­er­a­tion from Vic­to­ria be­cause of his mas­sive tax hikes, and since then, power prices have sky­rock­eted and our abil­ity to keep the lights on in Vic­to­ria con­tin­ues to be ques­tioned by the Aus­tralian En­ergy Mar­ket Op­er­a­tor.”

PHOTO: Mel Guy

EN­ERGY RIP OFF: Shadow Min­is­ter for En­ergy David South­wick (left) and Tim McCurdy (MLA, Ovens Valley) at the fo­rum in Wan­garatta.

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