Georgia Logus used to sit on the stool in the shower just to keep warm in winter and cool in summer.
She found that running hot or cold water over herself according to the season was cheaper than turning on high-cost electric wall heaters when it was cold.
And she couldn't afford air-conditioning to cool down when temperatures soared above 40 degrees.
But now her home has been transformed by an ACT government scheme run by the St Vincent de Paul Society.
She can keep warm and also afford food and even the odd luxury because her house has been revamped to minimise heat loss.
A new cost-effective heater has been installed so the shower isn't the most cost-effective place to get warm or keep cool.
Georgia is a sick woman. She's had a series of heart-attacks and suffers from arthritis as well as Crohn's Disease.
"It's very difficult being ill in extreme temperatures," she said.
Her disability pension is about $850 a fortnight but her rent in public housing is about $230 so there wasn't much left after paying $110 a fortnight for the cash-guzzling electric heaters.
She was building up debt as she struggled to pay the bills.
But after the improvements under the Actsmart Home Energy Efficiency Program, her electricity bill has now come down to $70 a fortnight.
Experts from Vinnies inspected her home in Hughes and put in improvements like better heaters and a more efficient fridge.
Sometimes, it's just a matter of putting up thicker curtains to keep heat in in winter and out in summer.
"The house is bearable again. Each night I feel comfortable, not having to shiver," Georgia Logus said.
"It's a life-changer."
The society wants the program expanded and minimum energy efficiency standards mandated by law.
It says that the high cost of gas and electricity "is a significant driver of poverty".
"It is imperative that those who are already experiencing disadvantage can be supported, and don't have additional stress due to worrying about utility bills and costs," the president of the St Vincent de Paul Society in Canberra and Goulburn, John Feint, said.
During the recent election, the Greens who will be the smaller partner in a Labor dominated government said they wanted measures on energy efficiency and were prepared to spend public money achieving them.
There were two benefits, they felt: lowering bills and tackling global warming.
"Energy efficiency and sustainability upgrades will help the ACT to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and help households to escape energy related financial stress."
They promised to "establish a four-year $50 million fund for improving the efficiency and sustainability of ACT buildings, focused on people living in social and public housing, low income owner-occupiers, and the lowest performing rental properties".
The Greens are yet to decide on which parts of their manifesto they would push hardest for but all the indications are that making Canberra's homes more energy efficient would be a priority.
They want more "solar panels and batteries, draft sealing, insulation, glazing, efficient electric appliances, and water-saving measures".
They also want to address "an ongoing barrier whereby the tenant pays energy bills but the landlord pays for capital investments, creating a reduced incentive for upgrading".