Post on June 12th, 2015
Save on your power bills with electricity concessions in NSW
As well as looking around to compare electricity distributors and prices, there is also another option you can look into that will see you get savings that are rightfully deserved: electricity concessions. NSW has a number of electricity concessions available to its residents, each with differing criteria, so we’ve pulled together a list for you, so you can see whether or not you qualify to save money through any of these means.
So what is an electricity concession?
In its simplest form, an electricity concession is a saving that is applied to your energy bill, that sees you get a percentage or monetary reduction to your bill, or a rebate, based on a certain set of circumstances. These concessions are offered on behalf of the State Government by electricity distributors, and are designed to give assistance or help to those consumers that need it.
Electricity concessions available in NSW
Here are some of the most common electricity concessions available in NSW, and the requirements for you to receive these concessions.
Low Income Household Rebate
In July 2011, the New South Wales Government implemented a new $200 Low Income Household Rebate. This rebate has since increased to $285 per year (ex GST).
The Low Income Household Rebate will replace the existing Energy Rebate automatically. The government also plans to introduce a Family Energy Rebate in July 2012.
Those eligible for the Low Income Household Rebate must have one of the following:
- Centrelink or Department of Veteran’s Affairs (DVA) Pensioner Concession Card
- DVA Gold Card; for either War Widow/er, War Widow Pension, Total or Permanently Incapacitated (TPI) rate, or Disability Pension
- Centrelink Health Care Card
The Low Income Household Rebate will be paid through instalments on each monthly electricity bill. The amount of the rebate paid each month will depend upon the number of days in a billing cycle.
Medical Energy Rebate
The NSW Government’s Medical Energy Rebate is for consumers who don’t have the ability to self-regulate their body temperature, if exposed to extremely high or low temperatures, which can sometimes be the case for medical conditions such as Multiple Sclerosis or Parkinson’s Disease.
At 1 July 2017, this rebate was set at $285 per year (ex GST), and is applied to your daily electricity use. The exact amount of money you receive is dependent on the number of days in the billing period.
This rebate is available in addition to the Low Income Household Rebate. To be eligible, you have to submit an application form signed by a registered medical professional that states that someone at your address suffers from an inability to self-regulate their body temperature. You also need to have one of the following:
- Centrelink or DVA Pensioner Concession Card
- DVA Gold Card; for either War Widow/er, TPI, or Extreme Disablement Adjustment (EDA) rate pensions
- Centrelink Health Care Card
Life Support Rebate
The NSW Government provides financial assistance to consumers who are required to be on life support systems, such as home dialysis, ventilators, and oxygen concentrators. If you’ve got one or more life support systems operating in your home, then you’re eligible to receive a rebate for each system that’s running.
This rebate is available in addition to the Low Income Household Rebate, and the Medical Energy Rebate, and doesn’t require a concession card for you to receive it. In order to be eligible for this rebate, you need to supply an application form signed by a registered medical practitioner that states that someone at your address is required to be on a life support system.
The exact rebate you’ll receive depends on the number of days in the month’s billing cycle, and the type of life support machine being used. Currently, you can expect the following rates for approved life support machines:
|Enteral feeding pump|
|External heart pump|
|Positive Airways Pressure (PAP) Device|
|Power wheelchairs (for quadriplegics)|
|Total Parenteral Nutrition pump|
For a full list of approved life support equipment, have a look at the NSW Government’s Life Support Rebate page.
Family Energy Rebate
The Family Energy Rebate helps families caring for children to manage their energy costs, and is available to residential consumers who are currently receiving the ATO’s Family Tax Benefit A (assistance with the cost of raising children) or B (assistance to single-income families and carers with the cost of raising children).
The Family Energy Rebate is set at $20 for concession card holders, and $180 for non-concession card holders, with the NSW Government determining your eligibility when you apply. To be eligible for this rebate, you have to:
- Be a NSW resident;
- Be registered at the address of your electricity supply; and
- Currently be eligible for receiving Family Tax Benefit A or B.
Energy Accounts Payment Assistance (EAPA) Scheme
The EAPA Scheme is designed to help consumers who are experiencing short-term emergencies or financial crises pay their energy bills, so that consumers can keep their electricity connection during times of financial setback. Be aware that this provides short-term support only, and isn’t available for long-term situations.
The EAPA provides vouchers to consumers worth $50 each, which are available from organisations like the Salvation Army, Anglicare, St Vincent de Paul, and others. These providers will perform an assessment to see if your situation requires EAPA support. The voucher they issue you gets sent to your retailer electronically, and then gets paid directly to your account.
A full list of organisation participating in the EAPA Scheme can be found here.
Energy blackouts compensation
Consumers can receive compensation for regular or extended loss of power, which can help go towards paying for groceries, fuel, and other important necessities that may have been impacted by the power loss.
Customers in metro areas are eligible for up to $80 compensation from their electricity supplier if they suffer a power outage greater than 12 hours, or receive four 4-hour outages in one year. Customers in rural areas are eligible for the same $80 compensation, however they have to suffer from an outage longer than 18 hours, or receive four 5-hour outages in a year. Rebates get capped at $320 a year.
It’s important to note that this compensation doesn’t cover outages due to planned maintenance work, natural disasters, or outages due to third-party actions, like someone crashing into a power pole or vandalism to the network.
Not eligible for an electricity rebate?
Electricity rebates are for consumers who are suffering hardships and require financial aid to see that their power bills get paid fully. So if you don’t qualify for an electricity rebate from the NSW Government, consider yourself lucky!
But that doesn’t mean you have to live with paying high electricity prices. There are ways that you too can combat rising utility costs, and save energy at the same time. And better yet, they won’t cost you a cent.
Here are some easy, practical tips that you can start doing today, that will help you reduce your energy use for the long term, meaning you can stop paying so much on your electricity bill:
- Turning off any lights in your home when you don’t need them. It sounds obvious, but remembering to do this every time you leave a room can have a long-term, sustainable impact on reducing your power bill.
- Switch non-essential appliances off at the wall when they’re not in use. If they’re still switched on, they’re still using power. Appliances like computers, TVs, dryers, washing machines, microwaves, kettles, and even phone chargers can use a shocking amount of power when they’re turned on, so switching them off—or unplugging altogether—is a great way to save.
- Take shorter showers. Keeping your showers to four minutes or less doesn’t just save water, but uses less energy required for heating.
- Take advantage of our weather and dry your clothes outside instead of in the dryer. Doing four loads of laundry outside has the potential to reduce your electricity bill by almost $150.
- Do the same with cooling your home—go natural. Close any windows, blinds, and curtains during summer to keep out the sun’s heat, and open them up again when the sun starts to set to let in the cooler evening air. You’ll save quite a bit of money, as opposed to using your air conditioner.
- You can even choose to use a fan instead of the air conditioner. A fan works out to be 80% cheaper to use, and can help you save up to $200 a year on your power bill.
- If it gets so hot that you do need to resort to air con, set it to between 23°C and 26°C. Doing this will save roughly $80 on your power bill—and after all, your house doesn’t need to be an ice box! For every degree that you increase it you’ll save roughly 10% on the cost of electricity it uses.
- The average four-person Australian household can comfortably survive on one fridge, so if you’ve got two fridges, think about whether you actually need them both. Older fridges use anywhere from two to three times more electricity than newer, energy-efficient models, so running on only one fridge has the potential to save you up to an estimated $200 a year on your bill.
- Running high-powered appliances like your dishwasher or your washing machine during off-peak times (usually at night) means you’ll be charged less for your use. So find out what hours your retailer considers to be off-peak, and do your washing or wash your dishes then.
Putting these energy-saving tips into effect can save you hundreds on your yearly electricity bill. But there’s one more thing you can do: do a comparison of electricity retailers, shop around for a new electricity plan, and make the switch to a company that will do you a better, cheaper deal on your electricity.
That’s what we’re here for.
Get a better deal on your electricity bills
At Electricity Wizard, we do all the hard work for you. When you call us, we’ll compare your rates and plans against our preferred suppliers available in your area and help you select a great plan for you to cut down costs and meet any other criteria you may have. Best of all, our service is completely free, so what do you have to lose?