CONCERNS have soared that more Wagga households are anticipating a hit by sky-high electricity bills than ever before.
Peter Burgess, who is the president of St Vincent de Paul's Wagga Central Council said winter usually brings a high demand for the charity, however he expects that the pandemic will cause more cash-strapped residents in search for help after running up an expensive power bill.
"They are not just using heating, but more people are working from home using electricity for things such as internet and lights," he said.
Mr Burgess said the current health crisis has left thousands of people unemployed, who might struggle to meet payments for the first time in their lives. His advice was to always call the energy provider immediately when payments deadlines cannot be met.
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Mr Burgess said this can be "really difficult" for some people, who were perhaps on a low income or struggle with mental health concerns.
However, he said the charity could help people negotiate on their behalf in these situations.
"If you leave it until you're in debt, the supplier is not sympathetic," he said.
"A big part of our work is not just handing out money, but working with people to help them manage their lives and electricity bills - and it is tough at present.
"For a lot of people they often don't know where they can go for support. So, we can negotiate for them on things like reducing power bills."
Bush and Campbell Accountants director Rebecca Nicoll said there are options available for this year's tax season for those working from home.
The Australian Tax Office (ATO) recently updated its conditions to include a "shortcut method," which allows workers to claim 80 cents per hour on their running expenses.
The alternative option is the "fixed rate method," which allows them to claim 52 percents per work hour on heating, cooling and lighting. She said this option also covers work-related costs such as phone and internet bills.
Ms Nicoll said the people who intend to take advantage of these claims should keep a diary record of their hours while working from home in case the ATO request evidence.
"Look at your diary or payslip, which shows how many hours you worked that week," she said.