A dire social services report has been released the day PM Malcolm Turnbull meets with the heads of Australian energy retailers.
The Victorian Council of Social Service has called for politicians to stop and listen to the people suffering under "horror" power price surges.
CEO Emma King believes too much focus is being placed on numbers in the national debate.
"Numbers are important. But behind every number is a person suffering while they struggle to pay their power bill. They must not be forgotten."
The peak social and community sector group has commissioned the RMIT Centre for Urban Research to interview everyday people who are failing to pay their electricity and gas bills.
Like Don, who gave up his full-time job as a mechanic to care for his elderly parents before they died. He has given up his washing machine to cut costs.
"I sort of worked it out, well I can go down the laundrette every fortnight and do my washing… now, if I was still working, then when you’re earning a lot, your judgement is different.”
For families in Central Victoria doing similar cost-cutting a new comparison website has been launched by RACV.
The tool will not lead to annoying phone calls from energy companies, trying to sell you a new package because it's independent.
It also objectively lists each retailer's offers with no personal details recorded.