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Breathing life into power savings

House with solar panels

Rockhampton mother-of-five Jacky hopes she will be saving money on her next electricity bill.

She uses a large amount of power – in fact over $600 worth per quarter – because she relies on an oxygen concentrator cylinder to assist her breathing as she waits for a lung transplant.

“The cylinder uses a lot of power. I use it 24 hours a day,” said Jacky.

“I also use the air-conditioner a lot as it helps me to breathe in this heat."

“But I’ve got 13 solar panels on my roof now."

"The digital meter was installed three weeks ago so when my next bill arrives I expect to see some big savings.”

Waiting for a new lung

Power supplier Ergon Energy gives Jacky a rebate every three months to help her pay her power bill as she is effectively operating a life support system in her own home.

If doctors are successful in finding her a donated lung, she expects to relocate to Brisbane for treatment for up to three months.

“I’ve been on the waiting list for six months now,” said Jacky.

“It’s just the luck of the draw, whether or not they can find a lung that is the right match for you."

“Basically, I’m alright. I spend most of my time at home watching TV but I do have my daughter Tara living with me to keep me company.”

Managing a business and five kids

Jacky has raised five children in Rockhampton: two girls and three boys, aged 20, 26, 28, 32 and 35.

She still found time to run her own business as a domestic cleaner for seven years, which helped put her kids through school.

“I had to give up the business when I developed bowel cancer,” said Jacky.

“I beat the bowel cancer … then I found out about the lung cancer."

“I’ve had a bit of a rough trot but I’m still going and hoping I get that call for a new lung any day."

“That will really give me a new lease of life.”

Getting involved

Jacky is one of 800 people living in public housing in Cairns and Rockhampton who are expected to have solar installations completed by 30 June 2018.

The solar panel trial is a partnership between the Queensland Government and power provider Ergon Energy.

Public housing tenants in houses with three or more bedrooms were able to qualify to participate in the trial.

Last updated 16 May 2018    Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)


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