FAMILIES in Albury are forking out hundreds of dollars more a year for power compared to their neighbours across the border.
The Border Mail has compared identical plans using a NSW family’s average use of 7000 kilowatt hours a year.
Wodonga residents pay up to 30 per cent less for the same electricity with the same provider on the same plan.
In all cases where a direct comparison could be made, it was more expensive for those living in Albury, who are paying between $172 and $782 a year more for the same electricity.
So what’s the different between the two cities?
The Energy Retailers Association of Australia, which represents electricity providers, explained the price anomaly had a lot to do with the electricity market in Victoria being deregulated.
In Wodonga standing energy prices are set by individual retailers and monitored by the Victorian Essential Services Commission.
In NSW the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal sets the price for standing energy contracts.
An association spokeswoman said competition in Victoria’s market showed deregulation could benefit consumers.
“Since price deregulation in 2009, households have seen new products and more choice.”
Lavington couple Adam Robson, 25, and Mel Armstrong, 24, use about 1750 kilowatt hours a quarter.
Their winter bill was a hefty $633, even though they both work shift work and don’t spend a lot of time at home.
Ms Armstrong said they were lucky that they were able to pay the bill without much difficulty but she knows there are others in the community who would be stunned by the sum.
Financial counsellor at Albury’s St David’s Care, Yvonne Nichol, said she had clients paying more for power after moving to Albury from Wodonga.
But she said it didn’t matter where you lived, families everywhere were “struggling badly”.
She said in the past three months their financial counsellors had been busier than they had been in the past decade.
They were even seeing cases of working and well-off families who couldn’t pay their bills.
Solar expert from Energy Matters Nick Brass said in the past two years rising power prices had led many clients to turn to solar.
“We’re finding that the majority of investors who are purchasing solar are not the high-end households, it’s the ones who get hit by electricity bills,” he said.