More people finding it tough to pay for power

Cecilia AllenSouth Western Times
Anglicare WA Financial counsellors Taryn Maasikas and Kate Rich are encouraging people to donate to assist those in financial hardship.
Camera IconAnglicare WA Financial counsellors Taryn Maasikas and Kate Rich are encouraging people to donate to assist those in financial hardship. Credit: Jon Gellweiler / South Western Times

Anglicare WA has launched its annual Spring Appeal and Bunbury residents can donate to help people in financial hardship.

Anglicare WA runs four appeals annually to coincide with the seasons and this spring is focusing on its financial counselling service to highlight the difficulty many people have paying utility bills.

Bunbury Anglicare financial counsellor Kate Rich said in the past six months more than 50 per cent of clients in the South West had trouble paying their electricity, gas or water bills and there had been a 30 per cent spike in people who used Anglicare WA financial counselling service in the last month.

“Bills have gone up,” she said.

“Registration is a big one.

“Wages go up marginally but many people are on fixed wages, such as disability pensions and youth allowance.”

Ms Rich said in 2016 clients had debts of about $250 but it was now up to $1500, with people juggling multiple bills and going without other necessities in order to stay connected to energy supplies.

“People struggling with utility bills are encouraged to organise ongoing payment plans they can manage, rather than suffer bill shock every few months,” she said.

“We can also help eligible clients with a Hardship Utilities Grant, advise clients on energy saving measures and help those who might be eligible to secure a no-interest loan to purchase more energy efficient white goods.”

Donations can be made by calling Anglicare WA on 9263 2091 or visiting www.anglicarewa.org.au/donate.

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