EDITORIAL: When I woke to a new lockdown dawn on Wednesday morning the first thing I did was turn on my heat pump.
It's exactly what thousands of other Kiwis would've done too. This lockdown is different in one extremely obvious way.
By the end of the day my live readings from my power company showed I had used $4 more power in the day than I would have if I'd jumped in the car at 6.30am and headed straight to the comparative warmth of the Hawke's Bay Today offices.
I can live with that. It's a small price to pay for being warm. But if this lockdown continues for any length of time, and all signs are that it will, then I would call on the Prime Minister to extend her Government's Winter Energy Payment to everyone.
The payment of roughly $20 a week for single people and $32 for couples, which is currently only paid to those on benefits and over 65, would go a long way to easing the fears of vulnerable people stuck working from home.
If it's not clear to you yet why this sort of socialised response is needed, Flaxmere councillor Henare O'Keefe has described many houses in his community as "like igloos" and the inability to heat them in coming days "will kill".
"They are barely making ends meet now," he says of those in his community hardest hit through lockdown.
"I've even heard of a couple who have broken pieces of their own furniture to burn to keep warm."
This lockdown is in place for our health. But there is nothing worse than sitting in a cold, poorly insulated house, not wanting to turn on the heater for fear of huge power bills.
And next month's bill could be huge. Transpower's supply woes in recent weeks have been well documented and earlier this week a generation fault in Hawke's Bay saw the spot price for electricity soar in the region to more than $230,000 for a short time on Monday morning. It usually sits between $150 and $300.
The RSV spread has been a reminder of just what other fallout can come from lockdowns. The last thing we need is a wave of bronchitis and emphysema and every other condition that comes with waking up in a house with ice inside its windows.
For the sake of our community's health and bank balances, the Prime Minister needs to put money in all of our pockets. Extend the Winter Energy Payment to all.