The statistics are startling. We speak with hundreds of people each week and the common theme is that the cost of living has increased well beyond any wage increases
Queensland, Australia (PRWEB) April 03, 2013
Statistics reveal the true impact of the carbon tax as power costs increase resulting in a disturbing increase in power disconnections. Pensioners and concession card holders were the hardest hit with an increase of around 36% on the last quarter, according to data released by the Queensland Competition Authority.
When pensioners should be enjoying their twilight years (after paying tax and contributing their whole lives), it appears that their “days in the sun” are mired by the anxiety of increased costs and power bill stress.
Belying this there is a real threat that pensioners’ safety is at risk as they opt to turn off air conditioners on 40 degree days, use candles instead of the light switch and cut back on essentials like food and healthcare.
Dorothy “Dot” Walters (age 80) of North Ryde; “…My last bill was twice what it used to be and I’ve been trying to cut back”, she says “…I just don’t understand, I’ve used less power and my bill is almost double what it should be…”
Confused and scared, pensioners may find themselves in uncharted waters, and consider requests for payment extensions.
On the other end of the social spectrum are young families, just starting out. For them, the massive increase in power bills has caused pressure on their ability to afford not only the essentials in life, groceries, petrol and healthcare, but also their other financial commitments. As a last resort, they turn to credit card debt option to bridge the gap where their income falls short.
Jennifer Grey of Parramatta is a mother of 2 and her husband is truck driver, away for long periods of time and forced to work additional hours to meet the family’s financial needs. “…Rents are so expensive now, so with power bills out of control, things just feel like they are getting worse…” she went on to say, “…On top of our day to day living expenses, we have a couple of credit cards and two personal loans we used for our wedding 7 years ago. The credit cards are at their limits and we are struggling. We’ve had to cancel the Foxtel, kids swimming lessons and we’ve used up all our savings…”, “…My husband and I are worried…”
According to statistics published released by the Queensland Competition Authority, the number of power disconnections due to non-payment of bills increased 20% in the last half of 2012 and tens of thousands are requesting more time to pay. Credit cards are at the limits and costs outweigh income.
What can people do?
If you are struggling with excessive power bills, shop around for a better deal. Take advantage of those offers that allow you to increase your time to pay and seek help. Examine your budget and see whether there are savings to be had. Debt Consolidation may also provide a solution if of course the new loan repayments are cheaper than the sum of the individual debt repayments, providing a financial benefit.
Grant O’Donnell, director and founder of Debt Fix (one of Australia’s largest debt help companies) said yesterday, “…The statistics are startling. Hundreds of people each week have been asked and the common theme is that the cost of living has increased well beyond any wage increases…”
Often people become over committed and when a large bill comes in, be it an electricity bill or telephone bill, it’s enough to tip the scales. ASIC’s MoneySmart Website provides trusted guidance when it comes to dealing with debt and all money issues.
Mr O’Donnell concluded by saying that there are always options for people struggling with debt and people should search for outcomes that are affordable and sustainable.
“Everyone’s situation is unique and there is never a “one size fits all solution”; and “…A good option is a solution that delivers a financial benefit and ultimately resolves the problem. That could be a sound budget or money plan, a debt consolidation loan, financial hardship consideration, mortgage refinance, a Part IX Debt Agreement or in extreme case Bankruptcy…”
For more information, contact Debt Fix 1300 332 834 or http://www.debtfix.com.au