Power move a pain in the pocket
LOCAL families and pensioners doing it tough will be the hardest hit by the State Government's move to abandon a $55 million increase to the NSW energy voucher program.
Coffs Harbour Country Labor MLC Greg Donnelly said at the same time electricity prices and disconnections will also skyrocket.
Mr Donnelly said the former Labor Government set aside $55 million in extra funding over five years for the energy voucher scheme in 2009 to meet increasing demand - but the O'Farrell/Stoner Government has frozen the funding to help disadvantaged households at $14 million in 2011/12.
"At the same time the Coalition is sending electricity bills soaring and disconnections are at record highs, the Premier is cutting the help available to those who need it most," Greg Donnelly said.
"The Energy Accounts Payment Assistance (EAPA) scheme provides $30 vouchers to help households who are financially disadvantaged and having trouble paying their electricity or gas bills because of an emergency, to a maximum value of $480 per year.
"Household electricity disconnections rose by 18 per cent last year to 18,651 - we don't want to see this number rise even higher because of the O'Farrell/Stoner Government's mean cuts.
"The O'Farrell/Stoner Government's decision to abandon this funding increase will see more local families facing the prospect of being disconnected," he said.
These cuts come on top of the 17 per cent electricity bill price hike Barry O'Farrell passed on to NSW families last July.