Struggles to keep warm, pay for power

Andrew Henderson
Andrew Henderson
Budget advisers are braced for an influx of calls from people struggling to pay power bills, as the nation’s citizens stay in their homes during lockdown and winter temperatures approach.

Dunedin Budgeting Advisory Service (DBAS) executive officer Andrew Henderson said that the number of people who needed support ‘‘traditionally’’ rose over winter. He expected that number would increase even more this year.

DBAS staff would be working from home and would still offer Dunedin City Council electricity fund payments to those eligible.

Mr Henderson also welcomed the Government’s decision to double the winter energy payment.

It showed the Government had recognised the impact Level 4 restrictions would have on power bills and would be an incentive to ‘‘stay home and stay warm’’.

Staying warm had proved to be a priority for the Dunedin community, as firewood companies were faced with a ‘‘mountain’’ of orders, including The Woodshed, in Burnside.

Site manager Jon Mayall said, ‘‘we wanted to stay open to support our staff so they can keep earning at this time and so that Dunedin can stay warm’’.

Customers who purchased bagged products would need to stay in their vehicle while staff loaded the items and items purchased in ‘‘scoops’’ would be tipped on to the ground in
an ‘‘isolated’’ area for customers to gather themselves.

Mr Mayall asked customers to respect the new rules, or it would be forced to close to the public.

Leah Chamberlin-Gunn from Contact Gas, in Dunedin, said it had also experienced a large number of calls to customer service and that there would be longer wait times than usual.

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