SMALL businesses are being hit hard by skyrocketing electricity bills.
Blue Whale Motor Inn owner Graeme Soulsby said the cost of electricity, along with other utilities had risen by at least 50 per cent in the past five years.
He said this had dramatically affected the bottom line for motel operators, because competition from a range of other accommodation providers meant they had not been able to increase their rates.
"The cost of everything is going up and we haven't been able to put our rates up for five years because it's a very competitive market," Mr Soulsby said. "It makes it difficult to survive."
Mr Soulsby said in addition to that, occupancy rates had reduced because more people were cutting back on spending due to the rising cost of living.
Macey's Bistro owner Peter "Cork" Walsh said the cost of electricity had risen by 100 per cent in the past decade.
"Prices are going up all the time - I just wish they should regulate it," Mr Walsh said.
"Hotels are not as lucrative as they once were and that's why the price of beer and goods go up.
"We don't like increasing prices as publicans and the customers don't like it but it's just getting harder and harder to survive."
Their comments come after a Senate crossbencher demanded action on rising power prices.
Centre Alliance senator Rex Patrick wants to give tax cuts to Australian workers but is concerned a softening economy might leave the country unable to afford the 10-year plan without cutting essential services.
He also wants the government to pull together an energy plan so that rising power prices do not nullify the boost in pay packets.
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