We're a family of 5 in an old house that is woeful when it comes to thermal efficiency. We have the usual slew of appliances and gadgets, yet our last power bill was $350. Our worst ever (over winter) just tipped over $1,000 - and that was a big shock (no pun intended).
I just don't get how a family that is supposedly poor in the first place can run up huge power bills. If you're poor, how do you afford all those appliances that chew up all that power? Are they complaining that they can't pay a $1,000 power bill just a few months after buying a $2,500 plasma TV? Or after installing air conditioning?
Here's the thing - if you're poor, life is probably going to be uncomfortable. That is part and parcel of being poor. You'll have to do without a few things, like having a huge TV and running an air conditioner 24x7. You'll have to put an extra jumper on in winter. If you want to be more comfortable, then you need to go out and earn more money (or get a job in the first place). That means working harder, moving to a place with better jobs or getting skilled up.
We had to make a lot of changes to get our power bill down to $350 (and they didn't involve ripping the taxpayers off by installing solar panels). They were simple things like hanging washing out to dry instead of being lazy and using the dryer, using the air conditioner only when it's really bloody hot and laying off the heater when it's cool. We've sacrificed a bit of ease and comfort for a smaller power bill. If we can do that, I don't see why we should have to cough up to cover the power bills of those that are too lazy or too stupid to do the same. They won't learn a bloody thing if we keep giving them handouts every time they stuff their life up. All they'll learn is that they can do incredibly silly things, and the state will always bail them out.
Sort of like the Queensland government.....