TWO months on from massive electricity price rises, and Orange residents are starting to feel the squeeze.
So much so, some concerned residents fear they’ll be forced out of their homes because they can not afford to pay the bills.
One resident who has grave fears for the future is 53-year-old Kathy Bolewski.
She told the Central Western Daily yesterday her bill rise was “massive”.
“My account is with Origin Energy and it has almost doubled in the past 12 months,” she said.
“My last bill was $1200 and jumped from $600 the one before. I am a single person living alone so something has to be very wrong because even $600 for one person is ridiculous.”
Mrs Bolewski, who works part time and is on a disability pension, said something had to give as she continued to struggle to make ends meet.
“It’s hard enough with the rent being so expensive for a single person,” she said.
“I’m robbing Peter to pay Paul and it’s getting that bad that I will have to move, because I don’t think I can afford to stay here anymore.
“You could say I’m up the creek without a paddle.”
Mr Bolewski believes she has done everything possible to bring done her bills, but it made little difference.
“I am very energy conscious. Everything is turned off at the wall and I even light candles so I don’t have to turn the lights on,” she said.
“I have contacted my real estate agent and told them the bill is too high. Unfortunately, they seem unwilling to do anything to help me.”
Origin Energy yesterday confirmed that the number of late payments had increased in the past two months.
They also confirmed more people than ever were opting for a payment plan, paying instalments because they couldn’t afford big lump sums.
They declined to make any other comment on how the price rises would affect households.
Instead, they sent a release stating: “We understand that increases in energy prices have placed more pressure on the household budget,” the statement said.
“To help our customers address the challenge of rising energy costs, Origin provides a range of solutions, including tailored products to meet customer needs, energy efficiency advice and audits, flexible payment options and our financial hardship assistance program.
“Country support, our financial hardship assistance program, helps customers by developing payment plans, commissioning energy audits and assisting people with access to government or other assistance programs for which they are eligible.
“If any of our customers require assistance, we encourage them to call us as soon as possible on 13 23 56.”