A NSW Upper House inquiry has been told electricity providers should make “no-frills” plans available to low-income households.

St Vincent de Paul told the inquiry into electricity supply, demand and prices that a basic plan with a “clear and predictable price” is needed.

The NSW Council of Social Services agreed low-income customers need access to the best deals.

“Someone up the road who just comes in gets 40 per cent off,” NCOSS CEO Tracy Howe said.

“It's certainly not fair,” she said.

“There should be some kind of regulation to protect them.”

NCOSS said there is an “urgent need” to make electricity prices “fairer and more affordable in NSW”.

NCOSS chief Tracy Howe said there is not enough pressure on electricity providers from the NSW Government.

“Energy and housing costs are now almost running neck and neck as the issue raised by vulnerable families,” she said.

She said people sometimes go without food and medical treatment in order to pay their power bills.

Both charity groups want the rebate system to be changed so that it is based on a percentage of the bill, rather than a flat rate.

The NSW Government recently increased ita Low Income Household rebate from $235 to $285 and the Family Energy rebate from $150 to $180.

The rebates are used by about 900,000 people across the state.

“We think what we've already done is making a huge difference to people in need,” Energy Minister Don Harwin said.