Elderly people struggling to cope with rising power bills are being urged to make the most of NSW government energy rebates.

"Please don't think that the government is unaware of the challenges facing people," Energy Minister Chris Hartcher told a parliamentary forum on Thursday.

"It is a huge issue."

Power prices have soared by more than 50 per cent over the last three years, impacting older people who are more likely to spend large amounts of time at home or suffer from chronic conditions that increase their dependence on electricity.

However, they are less likely to apply for available energy rebates or concessions because they are unaware of their entitlements or believe others have a greater need.

Mr Hartcher said it was "unacceptable" that people in his electorate had told him they were going to bed at 4pm or sleeping in overcoats.

The government has developed a number of programs to help those battling their bills, including the low-income household rebate which provides $215 a year for people with pension or health care cards.

The life-support rebate program also provides money for people dependent on machines, while a medical energy rebate supports those people who can't regulate their own body temperatures.

An expanded emergency voucher scheme is also available for those in desperate circumstances. There is also a family energy rebate.

"There hasn't been, in some areas, the level of take-up that we would have wanted and that's simply because people don't know about it or don't know how to access it," Mr Hartcher told the forum.

"Often the people you are trying to assist in society often have the least amount of access to information on the web."

Mr Hartcher said the carbon tax was largely to blame for power prices, along with network charges.

He also pointed to increased energy consumption, citing the prevalence of power-hungry flat screen televisions and airconditioning units.

Mr Hartcher said prices should stabilise in the coming months.

 

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