An energy crisis has hit Australia with the Ukraine-Russia conflict triggering spikes in oil and gas prices, major coal-fired power stations suffering outages, and a dramatic intervention by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) suspending the wholesale electricity market this week.
Australian Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese, will also chair his first National Cabinet meeting today with state and territory Premiers, and the current crisis will be a hot topic.
All this is expected to come at a cost to consumers and small business owners, who are preparing to be slugged with higher-than-normal power bills later this year.
One of these small business owners is barber, Nico Vlahos, from Vlahos’ Barberiko in North Sydney.
“It’s coming,” Mr Vlahos said in an interview with The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age. “But we don’t know [by] how much. Everything is more expensive now.”
The chief executive of the Australian Hairdressing Council, Sandy Chong, added that electricity is a major cost for hairdressers and barbers due to appliances such as blowdryers, washing machines and dryers that clean gowns and cotton towels.
“They feel like they’re being hit from all sides,” Chong told the Australian newspapers.
Despite this though, Mr Vlahos still refuses to raise his prices in fear of losing customers.
“I’m expecting the bill. I’m scared,” he joked. “But you can’t do anything – you can’t put the price up… So we try to find the balance.”