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Left in the dark – How increasing energy costs are harming YOUR family

How much higher can our energy costs get before they spark a revolution? Queensland families have had ENOUGH.

Getting left in the dark – energy costs harming YOUR family

You try to conserve energy wherever you can.

You use energy efficient light bulbs and you make sure you switch off lights whenever you leave a room. You’re strict with how often the kids use the air conditioner. In winter, you pile on the blankets rather than turn on the heater. You use smart appliances, open the windows rather than switch on the fan and you try your best to make sure your kids consume energy wisely.

And then you get the bill.

energy costs bill

Your neighbours probably know when you get your bill as well. That loud roar of “WHAAAAAT?!” as you scan through the list of charges that you can’t quite believe apply to YOUR home. It’s a process that you, and millions of Queenslanders like you, have become all too familiar with.

The seven stages of “rising energy costs” grief

Any of this sound familiar?

Shock and Denial

You literally cannot believe that these energy costs are reflective of the energy usage in your house. There must be a mistake. This must be the bill for a different house.

You hide the bill. You convince yourself you must have read it wrong. You get the bill out again from where you shoved it under letters from the kids’ school. It’s still there – a HUGE figure that is going to DESTROY your careful budgeting.

Pain and Guilt

This HURTS. Energy costs from traditional suppliers bounce around so dramatically that the average family struggles to appropriately factor it into the budget. It’s estimated that you’re going to be slugged an extra $600 PER YEAR – and that’s only the start of it!

Is it your fault? Did you do something wrong? Did you dare to turn the lights on at night? Should you have asked your family to sit in the dark instead, for goodness sakes? You and your kids KNOW that money doesn’t grow on trees but here you are, again, caught short because of a massive bill. You question your own behaviour until you realise that this ISN’T your fault. You move onto stage three.

Anger and Bargaining

Damn right you’re angry! How can energy costs be SO HIGH? Did the electricity meter even get read correctly or is this just an estimate?

You call the electricity company to question your charges and are fed some fairly typical party lines that don’t answer your questions and just make you more frustrated. You threaten to go elsewhere and they offer to shuffle things a little bit but it barely makes a difference.

You realise you’re a rat caught in a maze and you’re hunting, desperately, for the exit door.


Are you doomed to stay stuck in this cycle of ever-increasing energy costs? All of the providers seem exactly the same. What hope does your family have of getting ahead if you’re slapped with a HUGE bill every couple of months?

Power prices have DOUBLED in the last ten years but our wages certainly haven’t. Costs of generating electricity have increased but so too have the profit margins that the retailers take for themselves. The major retailers haven’t had a competitor enter the market for a long time which is why they’ve been getting away with this for so long.

The Upward Turn

Enter the challengers.

New providers.  New competition. New incentives.  Finally, electricity has joined the banks and phone companies in offering “deals”.  Shop around, there are a lot of incentives to switch providers on offer.  Also, keep an eye on Queensland and Commonwealth incentive schemes to change-up old style appliances.  While Queenslanders don’t get the same incentives as our southern neighbours, the federal government is giving BIG incentives for solar or heat pump hot water installation in Brisbane. There is light at the end of the tunnel, and it can cost a little less to turn on, if you do your research

Reconstruction and Working Through

Maybe there’s an escape for your family after all.

Rather than blindly following the maze that’s been set out for you by the big electricity retailers, you may have found the exit door instead.

Acceptance and Hope

energy costs feeling better

Feeling a little more hopeful? It’s time to look towards the future and start moving towards the light. (And the ability to have the lights ON for more than half an hour at a time!)

Moving beyond grief to the next stage of life

We don’t know about you but we’re tired of bill shock. Tired of feeling like we’re the prisoners of uncaring, faceless corporations who take joy in twisting us out of every last hard-earned dollar.

Make this winter’s bill your LAST with your current provider. They’ve left you in the dark for way too long – time to switch on the lights.

Photo of author

Janine Mergler

Janine Mergler is a veteran Queensland teacher, graduating from QUT with a BEd majoring in Social Sciences. After many years in the classroom, Janine moved on to academia. She has proudly trained new generations of teachers in her role as a lecturer at Queensland University of Technology Faculty of Education. She has also worked in the Queensland Government as an education specialist, developing education resources and delivering community awareness programs to help families conserve water. Currently she is the owner and editor of Families Magazine, a publication specifically targeted at parents who value a quality education for children.  Janine leads a team of professionals who write about family lifestyle, early childhood, schools and education information and family-friendly events.

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