Brook Osborne and Cooper Farkas on their farm at Kilkivan.
Brook Osborne and Cooper Farkas on their farm at Kilkivan.

The struggle to keep the power running

THE feeling of trepidation homes and businesses across Queensland get when they open their power bill is becoming widespread.

Nowhere else is the sting of outrageously high electricity costs being felt than in regional centres like Gympie, where prices are grossly elevated when compared to metropolitan centres.

For Brooke Osborne, who owns Kilkivan Hay Supplies, the costs of keeping things running as a business and a household can take a toll.

"We don't just have the one bill; there are about five separate bills for the barn, the bores and pumps,” she said.

"In all, we're looking at around $3,500 for our last power bill in total.”

Ms Osborne said she and her family have always come from a farming background, where keeping costs down was simply a way of life.

But she added it was becoming far more inconvenient and impractical to keep the costs down.

"With the tariffs we have set up, it costs twice as much to operate some of the equipment we have on the farm during the day then it does at night,” she said.

"That's not really a practical thing, especially when it comes to having kids.”

Similarly, any attempts to mitigate the energy costs through other providers or sources would also be a costly option.

"We considered solar energy, but when we made enquiries about the costs for one of the bores we were told we'd be looking at $25,000 or so,” she said.

"And we understand that it's an investment for the future, but it's not like we've got that money ready to go either.”

While Ms Osborne was quick to point out there hadn't been a dramatic leap in costs since moving into their current home 18 months ago, other factors have ratcheted up the price too.

"We can't pass that cost on to our customers either, the idea of increasing the cost of a bale of hay isn't exactly feasible,” Ms Osborne said.

"With the dry season we've just had too we've had to place more money into irrigation just to keep the lucerne alive.”

Gympie Times


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