Friday, January 30, 2009

Thousands Of Working Families Live Without Electricity, Gas

One of the saddest things, amongst the many, many sad things, I saw during my very short employment with the then Department of Housing, was how many elderly people lived without electricity for extended periods because they couldn't afford to pay their meagre, overdue bills.

It was heartbreaking to sit down for a cup of cold tea with a disabled World War 2 veteran in a dark house, listening to him explain how he was cut off for owing less than $20 and now had to make do with cold water baths. But he knew it what it was all about, and why they were so heartless not to give a fuck about him, or the sacrifices he had made in his lifetime. It wasn't the $20 he owed that they were after, he croaked, it was the reconnection fee.

The eagerness to cut off people from their electricity supply, and other utilities, doesn't seem to have dampened much in the years since, as this story explains :
Homeowners are being disconnected from power, gas and water at twice the rate of four years ago.

And more than 60 per cent of people cut off from utilities are now in paid employment, according to the Public Interest Advocacy Centre.

Its study, to be released today, has found a new underclass of "working poor" forced to light homes with candles, take cold showers and send their children to stay with relatives.

....about 100 people were disconnected every day.

About 18,000 households are disconnected from electricity every year in NSW, and 23,000 from gas.

When Australians have to start paying their Global Carbon Tax, disconnections will rise, and even more people will have to make do without the very basics of a civilised society.

But if you reduce your carbon output by (forced) living without electricity, will that earn you a few Carbon Credits? Enough Carbon Credits, perhaps, so you can trade them to pay your Carbon Tax debt and get your electricity reconnected?

But if you get the electricity reconnected, then your carbon output rises again, so you don't get as many, or any, Carbon Credits, that you could use to pay off the next hit of Carbon Tax. So your electricity gets shut off again, but now you're once more earning Carbon Credits, so....I expect it will be exactly that kind of confusing.