ONE local charity is gearing up to be inundated with calls from clients struggling to pay energy bills.
St Vincent de Paul diocesan executive officer Frank Moes said demand for assistance had risen in recent months and would only get worse as usage increased and energy costs rose.
“The next lot of bills will have the biggest impact,” he said.
“The August bill will be for the winter months and people will be struggling to cover the cost of their electric heating.”
Mr Moes said he and his colleagues were telling clients to save any money they were allocated from carbon tax-related government payouts.
“We’re telling them that it’s not just an additional payment for them to spend, they need to save it up,” he said.
“[The government pay outs] have been added to their benefits for a specific purpose.”
Mr Moes says he is also recommending clients talk to Centrelink about readjusting their deductions to meet rising costs.
“If there is an 18 per cent increase in the cost of electricity it won’t mean much until they get their first electricity bill,” he said.
Mr Moes said while Vinnies is happy to help people in need they can’t offer support indefinitely.
Already, demand for blankets and warm bedding has outstripped supply this week, forcing Vinnies to buy new blankets and doonas to cover demand.
“At the moment, as soon as we get blankets in, they go,” he said.
“But at least if people are warm at night they won’t use as much electricity.”