Regional households are struggling to pay power bills and it’s not just about energy prices

Ron D’Arcy is often the last person in his family of nine to shower, so when the hot water ran out one winter’s morning, it didn’t occur to him the electricity had been cut off.

It wasn’t until the next week — a long one spent showering at his father’s house — that the family realised the problem wasn’t technical, but instead one with their account.

“[Once] we had the money to call the electrician out, he looked at the meter and he said ‘actually, you’ve been disconnected’,” Mr D’Arcy said.

A fault with the family’s smart meter meant the rest of the house stayed connected — adding to the confusion.

The family, who live in the small regional Victorian town of Toongabbie, are among tens of thousands of households that have had their electricity disconnected after not paying their bills.

“When you’ve got seven kids all rushing for the mailbox, sometimes things slip through the cracks … but we didn’t get any real notice,” he said.

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