But charities have said people are going without power, with electricity not recognised as a basic need.
Almost 8500 people have now signed The Daily Telegraph’s Power Struggle petition calling for IPART’s towering increases of 64 per cent over the next three years to be scrapped. And angry recipients of the meagre allowance said they would have to cut back their spending on both luxuries and essentials.
Multiple sclerosis sufferer Margaret Gleeson, 42, from Lane Cove, requires airconditioning in summer as her body is unable to regulate its own temperature.
She is entitled to 8c a day from July due to her medical needs but her power bill will rise by $1200 by 2013.
“It is not really assistance – it is just for them to be able to say the words ‘government assistance’,” Mrs Gleeson said.
Other subsidies given to people who need medical equipment will rise by as little as 3c a day.
Charities yesterday said people were desperate, with up to 15 people a day asking for help at some centres.
Energy Minister John Robertson said families and pensioners were entitled to $480 a year in vouchers.
Rod Williams from the Toronto Assistance Centre near Newcastle said the assistance would do little.
He said he expected 2000 people would have their power cut off after the next round of rises in July.
“These people don’t have a voice,” he said yesterday.