High gas and electricity bills are leading people to switch back to using wood heaters.
That's the view of two firewood suppliers in Orange who have revealed demand has risen in the past two years.
Hot Box Firewood owner Damen Bracey said people were concerned about their power bills.
"I've noticed a shift in the last couple of years with a lot more demand and a lot of people saying they're turning air-conditioners off and putting wood fires in," he said.
People who had switched over to gas or electricity are coming back to wood fire heaters.Damen Bracey, Hot Box Firewood owner
"Definitely, people who had switched over to gas or electricity are coming back to wood fire heaters."
Brian Meyers of I've Got Wood said they were "extremely busy last year.
"We've got a lot of new customers this year," he said.
Mr Meyers said a lot of them were switching from gas and electricity.
The news comes as Orange City Council has opened a wood bank to supply free wood for needy people.
It has bought $5000 worth of wood from the suppliers. People can apply for a share of the wood by contacting FoodCare in Garema Road.
Staff will assess the applications and forward them to council to organise a load of wood to be delivered to people's houses.
The initial allocation is expected to provide free wood for 30-40 families.
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Depending on demand, council will assess the need to expand the scheme beyond the first $5000 allocation.
Cr Glenn Taylor said it was a practical way council could help people in need.
"A lot of people are doing it tough. Orange has bitter winters, we've experienced that and we are about to experience that I believe," he said.
"It just worries me there are particularly older people and young children in the city that could be going cold in the winter because they can't afford proper heating."
Someone could turn up in a BMW and be a victim of domestic violence.Karen Boyde, FoodCare Orange
Cr Taylor said it was an important service. "It's not about supplementing people's incomes or paying people's energy bills, it is about the people at the bottom end that are really doing it tough, that have no resources to buy, in this case wood, or to pay a gas bill," he said.
FoodCare president Karen Boyde said they did not have a criteria for providing the wood, or their normal food service.
"Any one of us can be doing it tough at any time so anyone can access FoodCare so it seems an obvious way to co-ordinate this wood bank project," she said.
"You'd be surprised at the people who do come to FoodCare from across the city. Someone could turn up in a BMW and be a victim of domestic violence, you just can't make that judgement.
"At this time there is a lot of stress around energy costs, gas and electricity," she said.
She said it was confidential service. "There is no stigma," she said.
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