2 Apr 2014

Power company accused of profiting from the poor

1:39 pm on 2 April 2014

A pay-as-you-go power company is being accused of trying to profiteer from poverty, for charging $110 for a written statement needed for benefit application.

Customers of Glo-Bug say they cannot pay because they are already struggling.

A beneficiary called Jasmine says she tried unsuccessfully for six months to get a full disability allowance for her son, who has asthma and rheumatic fever, but she can't afford the statement.

Jasmine says Work & Income could not believe how much Glo-Bug wanted to charge her for the 12-month statement.

"At first they didn't believe me," she says, "and it left my application hanging for a while because I had to figure out some way to show that without coming up with $110."

Glo-Bug general manager Luke Blincoe says the company no longer charges the fee and is trying to put the situation right.

"This is an outdated service," he says, "and a fee that has only been charged once in the last two years across all of our 17,000 customers. It's now been removed from our system."