Power prices: Household enemy number one

The State's pricing watchdog IPART has been told electricity prices will keep rising, but maybe not by as much as they have been.

Power prices: Household enemy number one

Power prices: Household enemy number one

That's little consolation for struggling householders, with an exclusive 7News survey revealing the incredible strain power bills are putting on family finances.

Even Power company executives admit the days of double-digit hikes are over.

"The New South Wales Government has made public statements to this effect and has taken considerable steps to reviewing reliability standards and reviewing costs," Energy Australia’s Adrian Merrick said.

Prices have risen 80 per cent in five years, and it's hurting. A survey for Seven News, by the McKell Institute, shows the biggest stresses to household budgets are petrol, mortgage and rent, food and groceries. But way ahead of them all is electricity by nearly double.

Sydney's west and south are where it's hit hardest, with up to 65 per cent feeling the strain.

"The fact that electricity is still the number one issue of concern is very telling, and really is an issue that people are calling for some relief from," Peter Bentley from the McKell Institute said.

"To have over eight out of ten Sydney households telling us that electricity bills are their number one concern is just phenomenal."

Despite the spike in drive-by shootings, fears for the state's economy, and cuts to education and health budgets, the cost of electricity is worrying families the most.

The Prime Minister will meet premiers in Canberra this Friday to thrash out a way of keeping prices down.

New South Wales Treasurer Mike Baird says his government has already taken a number of steps to help struggling families.

"Everyone is feeling the pinch, and that is why we are determined to do everything possible," the Treasurer said.