Some elderly missing out on cheaper power

Many people in Manawatu are reaping the rewards of a Grey Power scheme to keep electricity prices low, but some elderly residents have still been left out in the cold.

As temperatures drop and electricity prices rise, people face the dilemma of how to keep warm.

Last year Grey Power partnered with Pulse Energy to create an electricity scheme to lower prices for Grey Power members.

Grey Power Manawatu secretary Sally Mayne said the branch saw an influx of members last month, joining specifically for the electricity deal.

"Power prices are far too expensive, and they're on fixed incomes.

"We've got people coming in here telling us they're going to bed at four in the afternoon because they can't afford the power," Mayne said.

"When you're on a fixed income it's really hard for some people.

"It's not so bad if you don't have mortgages or rent to pay, but a lot of them have mortgages and rent still. You can live on the super if you don't have those things."

Grey Power Manawatu president Lew Findlay said that since the introduction of the scheme many people had seen a real difference in their bills, but there were some still suffering the cold because of cost.

Despite the jump in membership, Findlay still hears of people using blankets for warmth because they can't afford to run a heater.

"For an older person to be living a lifestyle like that after working their whole life for our community, it's belittling isn't it?"

Mayne said there were some who struggled with the $18 a year joining fee for Grey Power.

Only members can join the electricity scheme, and if someone isn't eligible to join Grey Power or can't afford it, they miss out.

Manawatu Standard