The resident of a Mowbray community housing residence provided by the state government says more can be done to help reduce daunting electricity bills.
Jean Crawford rents a two-bedroom unit in a complex at Mowbray and said she had been locked in a perpetual cycle of trying to keep herself healthy and abiding by her yearly budgeted cost for electricity.
A state government spokesperson said there were ongoing commitments to reducing household energy costs and offering no interest loans. They said a $125 million winter energy bill supplement had seen more than $11 million in savings provided to 90,982 eligible homes.
Ms Crawford is on a disability due to emphysema and crippling fibromyalgia and arthritis. She said when she got too cold, all of her ailments flared up, leaving her in pain.
She said when the nights got too cold, and there was no more money to keep her heat pump running, she would just go to bed and hope for a warmer day the next day.
But much of the time, the $588 per fortnight of pension left after rent is paid offered her little opportunity to pay an electricity bill routinely costing $900 per quarter during winter.
Ms Crawford said she had not taken up the government's offers for energy bill assistance purely because she was unaware they were on offer.
She said no interest loans were difficult to commit to because the little money she had left after paying her electricity and other bills was typically dedicated to paying for food.
"When you've got other bills on top of your electricity bill you find it hard even to buy food," she said.
"Sometimes you get to the point where you don't have anything to eat but toast.
"I always feel like I'm struggling to survive. It gets to the point where it plays with your mental health."
Ms Crawford recently overcame an ongoing battle to have rotted insulation in house replaced, and she said the simple energy saving solution had already been noticeable, but the installation of solar panels and subsequent reduction of her electricity bill, for example, would change her life.
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