As stories begin to emerge of record electricity price increases, there was a flurry of cashback handouts announced by state governments in response.
NSW declared up to $1600 in emergency assistance for families, Queensland announced a $175 credit on every household’s power bill, and Western Australia unveiled a $400 credit.
Hundreds of dollars in financial help is available for households doing it tough as energy prices rocket. Some of these rebates are automatic, but some we have to apply for – in some cases before June 30, so get in quick.
Here a quick summary of what is available and where you can find them.
- , that $1600 figure is available to households experiencing a financial emergency. However, it comprises one $50 voucher at a time, and eligibility is strict.
Much more common rebates are up to $385 for low-income households, $200 for seniors, and $180 for families receiving the family tax benefit. These are all financial year payments, which means you need to apply in the next two weeks to qualify.
If you are a self-funded retiree, check if you are eligible for a commonwealth seniors health card – it is a concession that many do not realise they are entitled to because it is income-tested, rather than asset-tested.
However, it opens , including a seniors rebate on energy bills.
- , concession-card holders can apply for rebates of 17. 5 per cent on their electricity bills up to $2973 a year, plus 17. 5 per cent of winter gas bills up to $1644. That adds up to savings over the year of almost $800 for an average household.
There is no end-of-financial-year deadline on these payments, and the concessions can even be backdated up to 12 months.
Remember, importantly, from July 1, anyone who visits the at compare. energy. vic. gov. au can register for a $250 power saving cashback bonus.
- In the ACT, there is a $1000 cost-of-living concession that includes a bonus $200 added this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. To get that amount, you need to apply before June 30.
- , there is a $175 cost-of-living rebate credited automatically on your next power bill and brings to $575 the dividends Queenslanders have received over the past four years, the state government says.
The state government owns power stations and networks of poles and wires – unlike other states – and has previously been criticised for cashing in on increasing profits.
A $200 rebate for Queenslanders who move their pool heating or hot water system to an economy tariff is also ending on June 30.
- South Australians have until September to apply for , which is winding up after a change of government.
There is also a and the state is doubling its cost-of-living concession to as much as $449 next financial year for concession-card holders and low-income households.
WA’s power price hike is just 2. 4 per cent, so the West Coast is unlikely to see the same levels of energy bill stress as other states this winter.
However, WA still announced a $400 credit for most households, with further details to come. That is on top of a for concession-card holders.
- For all households, the general rule appears to be: check if you are eligible for any sort of concession card and, if you are, make sure your name is on your energy account and your retailer has your card number. That way, any rebates should be applied.
If you are finding it tough to pay your electricity bill, contact your provider and ask to join their financial hardship program, which contains protections against debt collectors or being cut off.
There are also some interest-free loans available from and free financial counselling available from the at ndh. org. au.
Joel Gibson is the author of . Catch his money saving segments on , and on Twitter .