Disabled Man saves $2000 on his power bill
For 18 months, Shane Livingston was trapped in his house, unable to afford cheese or sausages and dealing with the stress of being broke.
But thanks to a new power company who prompted a check of his hot water cylinder, Livingston is saving $2080 a year.
Due to a car accident when he was a baby, he is unable to work and is living off disability payments and the assisted living benefit.
He has around $160 per week to live off, after rent. Two months ago, he was paying almost a third of that on power – $50 per week.
“I didn’t think I could do anything about it. There was a long list of things I couldn’t afford, eggs were one thing I couldn’t even dream of affording at the time, cheese, ice-cream, even bread and milk was expensive.
“I had to stop using the car that much, I was restricted to one spot. I couldn’t leave the house.”
He tried changing power companies a few times, but it didn’t help.
“The only time [the companies] would contact me is when my bill was overdue. They’d just grab the money. That’s when I found Flick.”
Livingston changed over to Flick, a new start-up, and soon the company contacted him to say his power bill seemed high for a one-person household.
“I was surprised they contacted me. They were the first company to contact me and said I may have issues with my hot water cylinder.”
He was due for a house inspection so told his landlord what the company had said. They sent a plumber to have a look, but no fault was found with the hot water cylinder itself.
“If there was nothing wrong, the plumbers were going to charge me $70 for the call out. I wouldn’t have had that money.”
But once they checked the pipes heading outside to the laundry room, they noticed one of the pipes had burst, leaking hot water into the ground outside.
“That’s why the water cylinder was working so hard. When I spoke to the [old residents], they said it was quite high when they were here a couple of years ago, so it could have been leaking back then too.
“I would have never known if Flick hadn’t told me to check it.”
Since then, Livingston hasn’t paid more than $16 a week for power, with most bills hovering around the $10 mark.
“Now it’s easier to budget my money, I can buy a little bit more food. I can go to town, see my mates, shake their hands and have a laugh.
“It’s a serious relief.
“When I move from here, Flick are coming with me no matter what. I am not changing. I’ve never been so in control of my own money.”
Rebecca Reed, a spokesperson from Flick, said in a statement that unidentified faults could result in power bills three times higher than usual and, once the electricity is consumed, the account holder is liable to pay for it.
However, landlords are also responsible for ensuring the hot water cylinder they supply is in working order so a tenant may be able to claim reimbursement.
“From our perspective at Flick, we receive a couple of calls every month that give us reason to suggest that the customer needs to check their hot water cylinder.”
Is your hot water cylinder faulty?
Here are some issues to look out for that could be a sign of a faulty cylinder.
- The cylinder is over 15 years old
- A boiling sound coming from the area where the cylinder is
- Hot water running excessively hot from taps in the property
- White stains on the roof or wall where the pressure valve exits the house
- An unusually high electricity bill.
To get your hot water cylinder reviewed……Call 0508 The Plumber