Post on June 12th, 2015
Looking for electricity connection in Melbourne ?
As well as comparing electricity distributors and prices, there is also another avenue you can pursue that will see you get savings on your energy bill: electricity concessions. Victoria has a number of electricity concessions available to its residents, each one with certain criteria in place to ensure only those actually need them are able to receive them. 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 exactly is an electricity concession?
An electricity concession is a cost 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.
All energy concessions in Victoria are available through the Department of Human Services to eligible cardholders. The purpose is to assist low income Victoria residents with their monthly energy bills.
Electricity concessions available in Victoria
Here are some of the most common electricity concessions available in Victoria, and the requirements for you to receive these concessions.
Annual electricity concession
Victorian residents may be eligible for an annual electricity concession for concession cardholders at a discounted rate of 17.5% off all household electricity bills year-round, as of March 2011. This concession is calculated after any supplier discounts or solar credits have been deducted.
The annual electricity concession only applies after the first $171.60 of your annual electricity bill, and is calculated on a daily rate to ensure it remains fair. To receive this concession, simply phone your retailer and speak to them about it, and ensure you hold either a Pensioner Concession Card, a Health Care Card, or a Department of Veteran’s Affairs (DVA) Gold Card.
Excess electricity concession
Households with excessively high electricity bills—over $2,725 per year—are able to apply for the excess electricity concession. Exactly the same as the annual electricity concession, this provides a discounted rate of 17.5% to households with higher electricity bills, and requires the same criteria. Be aware though this cannot be received in conjunction with the annual electricity bill.
Winter Gas Concession
The Winter Gas Concession is available to eligible concession card holders to help them ease the costs of heating during the colder winter months. Between the winter period of 1 May to 31 October, consumers can receive a 17.5% reduction in their gas bill (after the first $62.40 amount), as long as they hold one of the three concession cards mentioned above.
Excess gas concession
If your winter gas bill was unexpectedly high, then you have the option of applying for the excess gas concession. If your gas bill was over $1,518 during the six-month winter period of 1 May to 31 October, and you hold either a Pensioner Concession Card, a Health Care Card, or a DVA Gold Card, then you’re eligible to apply. As with the Winter Gas Concession, this concession covers 17.5% of your gas usage and service costs.
Controlled load electricity concession
This concession entitles eligible consumers to a 13% discount off their controlled load electricity bills—so things like your pool pump, hot water, or underfloor heating. To receive this concession, call your retailer and ask them about it, and ensure you hold either a Pensioner Concession Card, a Health Care Card, or a DVA Gold Card.
Electricity transfer fee waiver
This concession lets electricity users waive the entirety of the usual connection fee they receive when moving into a new home. Your retailer will automatically apply this concession if you’re eligible, and you’ve got the right concession cards (as above).
Life support concession
The Victorian Government provides financial assistance to consumers who are required to be on life support systems, namely Intermittent peritoneal dialysis machines, oxygen concentrators, and Haemodialysis machines (which includes water). 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.
Consumers receive a discount of 1,880-kilowatt hours of electricity every year (or 470-kilowatt hours per quarter), and is calculated using the general domestic tariff of the retailer with whom their account is held.
To be eligible, consumers must:
To apply for this concession, consumers can either speak with their supplier, or with the hospital who supplies their machine/s.
Medical cooling concession
The medical cooling concession is available to consumers who suffer from a chronic illness that means they have an inability to self-regulate their body temperature. This concession provides a 17.5% reduction in electricity usage and service costs between the summer months of 1 November to 30 April. The pre-approved conditions for this rebate are:
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Parkinson’s disease
- Post-polio Syndrome/Poliomyelitis
- Motor Neurone Disease.
Medical conditions must be confirmed by a qualified medical practitioner. If consumers don’t have one of these conditions, but feel that they should be eligible for this rebate, they can contact the Department of Health and Human Services to discuss their situation.
Non-mains energy concession
Electricity customers who rely on a non-mains energy source for their heating, hot water, and cooking are eligible to apply for a concession to help cover their energy bill costs. Non-mains energy sources include LPG, firewood (for domestic heating or cooking), heating oil, generator fuel, or electricity accessed through an embedded network.
This concession is paid annually, based on the type of energy they use, and the amount received will vary depending on the cost of the bill. A rough breakdown of the amount received is as follows:
- $48 back if they spend between $100 to $274.99
- $144 back if they spend between $275 to $825.99
- all the way up to $534 back if they spend $2,510 and above.
Eligible customers simply need to hold a Pensioner Concession Card, a Health Care Card, or a DVA Gold Card, and prove they rely on one or more of these sources for their domestic energy needs. It’s important to note that this concession gets paid to the consumer in the form of a cheque—so keep an eye on the mail.
Service to property charge concession
This concession is aimed at consumers with low energy consumption. If your electricity usage is lower than your service charge, and you hold the usual eligible concession cards (as above), then you automatically qualify to have your service charge reduced to match the amount you’re charged for your electricity use (before any solar credits are deducted, of course).
Utility Relief Grant Scheme
The Utility Relief Grant 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. The amount received is calculated based on the customer’s outstanding account balance, and is capped at six months’ worth of electricity use, up to a maximum of $500.
Not eligible for an electricity rebate?
In Victoria, electricity rebates aren’t just for consumers who are suffering hardships and require financial aid to see that their power bills get paid fully. However, you may not qualify for any concessions—but that doesn’t mean there aren’t other ways to reduce your electricity bill.
Here are some super-easy, yet practical tips that you can do right now that will help you reduce your energy use for the long term, meaning you’ll be able to stop paying so much on your electricity bill:
- Turning off lights 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 electricity bill.
- Switch off non-essential appliances at the wall when they’re not in use. Appliances like computers, TVs, dryers, washing machines, microwaves, kettles, and even phone chargers still use power when they’re switched on, so turning them off—or unplugging altogether—is an easy way to save.
- Keeping your showers to four minutes or less doesn’t just save water, but uses less energy required for heating. So take shorter showers—your bill and the planet will thank you.
- Dry your clothes outside instead of in the dryer. Our weather is beautiful, and doing four loads of laundry outside has the potential to reduce your electricity bill by almost $150. So why wouldn’t you?
- You can do the same with cooling your home—do it naturally. 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.
- 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 must resort to the air con, set it to between 23°C and 26°C. Doing this will save roughly $80 on your power bill—your house doesn’t need to be a freezer, after all. 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 survives fine on one fridge, so if you’ve got two running, 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 the washing machine or dishwasher 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.
See? Simple—it’s mostly about changing the way you think about your electricity use. Putting these energy-saving tips into effect will save you hundreds on your yearly electricity bill.
But that’s not all. There’s one more thing you can do: do a comparison of electricity retailers. Look around for a new electricity plan, and make the switch to a company that will do you a better, cheaper deal on your electricity.
And don’t worry—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?