The steady rise in the cost of living means that some community members need assistance with living expenses. There are also various government programs designed to provide a respite for those who need it. And with many living expenses being varied, there are as many concessions and schemes for changing circumstances. Some of these can mean discounts for concession card holders, and some require an application. This post will list the different concessions and deals and what they can mean for your household.
Before agreeing to an energy plan
Nowadays, energy bills are a significant expense for low-income households. Regulations are therefore in place to ensure that vulnerable community members receive the proper assistance. However, it is also advisable to “shop around” for the right energy plan. Energy Concession Customers⁸ in SA can choose to take up the SA Concession Energy Discount Offer (SACEDO)¹ with Origin Energy. The SACEDO includes:
- a guaranteed ongoing 20% off electricity usage and supply charges (Origin will provide customers 90 days’ notice of any changes)
- flexible payment options
- no late payment, processing, paper bill, credit card or exit fees
Customers can directly contact Origin Energy to receive this discount. Visit Energy Made Easy if you’re not sure this is the right plan. Similarly, the Victorian Government’s Victorian Energy Compare helps households choose the right energy plan.³
After choosing the right energy plan, eligible South Australians on low or fixed incomes can receive up to $226.67 to help with their energy bills. Customers must complete the “Application for Household Concessions Form” online or post to receive the rebate.²
Your access to concessions, discounts and subsidies depend on the state or territory you reside in. Your eligibility can also depend on your circumstances. Below you will find out about the available schemes by state or territory:
Eligible South Australians on low or fixed incomes can receive up to $226.67 to cover electricity and gas payments (including LPG bottled gas). To obtain the rebate, customers must complete the “Application for Household Concessions Form” either online or by post.². These are in addition to the below concessions and schemes:
- FREE replacement of incandescent and halogen globes to lower lighting expenses
- FREE Home Energy Assessment
- Concession Card Holders can receive an eGift Card (worth up to $150) when decommissioning a secondary fridge
- Residential park resident concessions
- No interest loan scheme (NILS)
- Cost of living concession
- Water and sewerage rate concession
- Medical heating and cooling concession
Every Victorian household can claim a $50 Power Saving Bonus payment until 30 June 2020³. In addition, you may be eligible for the below scheme:
Victorian Energy Upgrade program (VEU):
- FREE replacement of incandescent, halogen and CFL globes to lower lighting expenses
- Residential Efficiency Scorecard
New South Wales
The following rebates may be available to eligible New South Wales households:⁵
The Low Income Household Rebate helps low-income NSW households cover the costs of their energy bills. It is paid once each financial year. You’ll receive the rebate as a credit on each quarterly energy bill, up to a total of $285.00/year. The amount is calculated daily from the day you call your retailer and apply.
The NSW Gas Rebate helps NSW households cover the costs of their natural gas. You’ll receive the rebate as a credit on each quarterly gas bill, up to a total of $110/year. The amount is calculated daily from the day you call your supplier and apply.
The Family Energy Rebate helps NSW family households with dependent children cover the costs of their energy bills.
The Life Support Energy Rebate is for eligible NSW customers who need, or have someone living with them who needs to use approved energy-intensive medical equipment at home. The equipment must be essential for supporting life, such as home dialysis, ventilators and oxygen concentrators.
The Medical Energy Rebate is for eligible NSW customers who cannot self-regulate body temperature when exposed to extreme hot or cold environmental temperatures. To be eligible for the rebate, you’ll need to have a diagnosis that you’re unable to self-regulate your body temperature.
The Seniors Energy Rebate is available for eligible independent retirees to help cover the cost of their electricity.
To be eligible you need to hold a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card (CSHC). CSHCs are means-tested concession cards issued by the:
- Department of Human Services (DHS)
- Department of Veteran Affairs (DVA)
The Seniors Energy Rebate is $200 per household, per financial year.
The Energy Accounts Payment Assistance (EAPA) Scheme provides short term assistance to people experiencing financial difficulties with energy bills. Eligible customers will receive a $50 voucher by participating EAPA providers.
The appliance replacement offer makes it easier for concession holders to upgrade their old fridge or television to a more efficient model. Eligible customers can receive:
- 40% off the cost of a fridge
- 50% off the cost of a television
The offer applies to selected models. Your current fridge must be at least 10 years old, while your TV must be a plasma or CRT (cathode ray tube)
Queensland pensioners, seniors, asylum seekers and eligible low-income households can receive $340 per year for their electricity bills. In addition, you may be eligible for the following rebates:⁶
The Reticulated Natural Gas Rebate
The Reticulated Natural Gas Rebate currently provides a rebate of $70 per year to Queensland pensioners and seniors.
Applicants must be the registered customer of a gas retailer at the home address for which the rebate is claimed.
Home Energy Emergency Assistance Scheme
Low-income households who are experiencing a short-term financial crisis or emergency that has limited their ability to pay their current electricity bill can receive a one-off payment of up to $720*.
*A customer is only eligible for a HEEAS grant once every two years.
Electricity Life Support Concession Scheme
This concession provides an electricity life support concession payment for eligible people who are seriously ill and use a home-based oxygen concentrator or kidney dialysis machine.
Medical Cooling and Heating Electricity Concession Scheme
This concession helps people who have a chronic medical condition that requires air-conditioning to regulate their body temperature.
Eligible customers can receive up to $340 per year
Eligible concession card holders in Western Australia can receive $305.25 to assist with their energy bills. In addition, the following schemes and subsidies may be available to eligible concession holders:⁷
Supports Western Australian families and households pay their electricity, water or gas bills if they’re experiencing financial hardship.
Supports eligible customers who have dependent children by reducing the amount owing on their energy bills.
This rebate helps eligible customers to cover the costs associated with establishing a new energy account. It applies to residential customers only and will be credited on the first bill you receive.
Subsidises the cost of running an air conditioner in areas that are deemed high heat discomfort locations, during the hottest months.
Offered by the WA Government to support families and households with the costs associated with operating life support equipment at home.
Offered by the WA Government, to help support those who require heating or cooling to control the temperature in their home, due to specialist medical advice.
The Northern Territory Concession Scheme helps eligible residents with the cost of living⁹. To be eligible members must be a resident of the Northern Territory, Australian citizen or permanent resident, and a current recipient of one of the following eligible Commonwealth benefits:
Department of Human Services (Centrelink):
- Age Pension
- Disability Support
- Carer Payment
- Parenting Payment (single)
Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA):
- Repatriation Health Card TPI/War/Widower (Gold Card)
- Repatriation Pharmaceuticals Benefits Card (Orange Card)
- Pensioner Card (Blue Card)
- Seniors Health Card
Members of the NT Concession Scheme who are turning 65 years and older may also be eligible for the NT Seniors Recognition Scheme. The scheme offers concessions for the following services:
- property rates
- motor vehicle
- driver licence
To receive electricity and water concessions members must be the primary account holder or legally responsible for paying the account.
It is important to check your eligibility requirements for EACH scheme or rebate. While each program may have additional requirements, you must currently hold one of the following Concession to be eligible for the discussed rebates:
- Pensioner concession card issued by the Commonwealth Government
- TPI Gold Repatriation Health Card issued by the Commonwealth Government
- War Widows Gold Repatriation Health Card issued by the Commonwealth Government
- Gold Repatriation Health Card (EDA) issued by the Commonwealth Government
- Health Care Card (including a Low Income Health Care Card) issued by the Commonwealth Government
- Recipient of the South Australian Government Energy Concession
In addition, to be eligible for energy concession you may be required to:
- live at the property
- be listed as an account holder on your energy bill
- hold an eligible concession card or receive an eligible Centrelink payment
- not be living with anyone who has an income of more than $3,000 per year, unless they either:
- get an allowance from Centrelink or the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA)
- are your spouse, domestic partner or dependent.
¹ Energy concession discount offer – Government of South Australia
² Energy bill concessions – Government of South Australia
³ Victorian Energy Compare – Victoria State Government: Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning
⁴ Concessions – Government of South Australia
⁵ Energy Rebates – Energy NSW
⁶ Energy rebates and concessions – Queensland Government
⁷ ConcessionsWA – Government of Western Australia
⁸ Energy Concession Customers are those who are actively participating in retailer hardship programs.
⁹ NT Concession Scheme – Northern Territory Government
Updated on 27 February 2020
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