Electricity prices 'to hurt pensioners further'

From the first of July this year, electricity prices will rise by an average of at least 17 per cent and pensioners will be doing it extremely tough.

That's the assertion of the Combined Pensioners and Superannuants Association of New South Wales (CPSANSW), which says bills will increase by $100 a year, up from $216 to $316.

Policy co-ordinator of the CPSANSW Charmaine Crowe said that increase completely nullifies the state government's $200 low-income household rebate.

She commented: "Despite the rebate going up by $55 from July 1 for pensioners and others on low-incomes, the price hike announced today will effectively render the rebate void.

"Pensioners will have to cut their food and health budgets to meet the higher cost of electricity, especially those in rural and regional NSW, where average bills are set to exceed $2,000 per year."

She added that this is ten per cent of the pension for singles, which is worth $18,961 per annum.

Ms Crowe added that country pensioners are doing it even harder, given that they pay more power due to higher supply charges - but despite this they receive only the city rebate rate.

The policy co-ordinator urged the state government to reform the energy rebate.