Research shows two thirds of consumers are considering to cut discretionary spending to help cover cost of rising electricity bills.

The online national Newspoll survey of more than 1200 adults aged 18 to 64, commissioned by Solahart, found 87 per cent of respondents will down on eating out or ordering take-away just to afford energy costs. Additionally, 79 per cent of consumers will hold off on purchasing household items such as furniture or electrical goods, 76 per cent will slash holiday spending and 73 per cent will go without new clothes.

The results paint a gloomy picture for Australia’s retail and food service industries still recovering from the Global Financial Crisis and struggling to compete with the growing online shopping phenomenon. In fact, between June 2009 and June 2010, retail sales across the country increased only 1.9 per cent and the Newspoll survey, conducted just last month, indicates their woes are about to get even worse.

Stephen Cranch, National Manager at Solahart, Australia’s leading solar water heater manufacturer, warns the looming introduction of a national carbon tax will cause even greater financial strain for Australian families.

“Our research has shown that four out of five consumers are worried that power bills will rise even further if the carbon tax goes ahead, making cost-cutting even more of a priority,” he said.

The Newspoll survey revealed 96 per cent of participants feel that rising power bills will add pressure to the household budget.  Even essential items such as transport/petrol and groceries aren’t safe from the impact of mounting energy prices, with 45 per cent and 38 per cent of respondents respectively admitting they would seriously contemplate curbing their spending on these basic goods.