Are you eligible to save money on your gas and electricity bill?
‘Winter is coming’, so said every Game of Thrones fan at every opportunity. It’s a well-worn line also used by people in Australia’s southern eastern states. However, many of us in these states fail to prepare for winter and then, when the electricity and gas bills come, wonder what we could have done differently.
If you sit in that boat, well, winter is now here and it’s time to not only cold-proof your house, but also to look at how you can save on your utility bills.
What you may not know is that you could be eligible for government rebates. Here’s a state by state run down.
State government rebates
There are, in fact, 10 different rebates available in Victoria that could save you hundreds of dollars. These include the Annual electricity concession, the Controlled load electricity concession, Winter gas concession, and the Service-to-property charge concession. The Annual electricity concession could save you up to 17.5 per cent on your bill.
If you are a concession card holder, you are eligible for the $285 Low Income Rebate and a $110 Gas Rebate. There is $200 available on the gas rebate if you are a self-funded retiree with a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card. NSW is also looking out for those facing financial emergencies that may have been caused by the bushfires or COVID-19. The Energy Accounts Payment Assistance Scheme is now giving out $50 vouchers for those in emergency situation for up to $1600 a year.
Finally, if you receive the Family Tax Benefit in NSW, you can access a $180 Family Energy Rebate until June 18.
Queensland pensioners and seniors may be eligible for the Electricity Rebate of $340.85 per year and the Reticulated Natural Gas Rebate of $73.60 per year. The Queensland Government’s COVID-19 economic relief package is providing all households with a $200 credit to help with electricity and water costs. This includes the $50 electricity asset ownership dividend for 2020, plus an extra $150. Finally, Queensland has the Home Energy Emergency Assistance Scheme, offering up to $720 a year for those in financial crisis. These emergency payments are also available to concession-card holders who need them.
WA offers its citizens the Energy Assistance Payment. A person who holds an appropriate concession card may be eligible for an energy assistance payment as a subsidy to assist with electricity costs. Due to COVID-19, the payment has increased by $305.25 this year to $600.
In SA eligible recipients could receive a $400-plus from the Energy Bill Concession and the Cost of Living Concession. JobSeeker recipients can access concessions and a $500 boost. To check your eligibility and get further information on the schemes available in each state, check your relevant state government’s website.
When bills go up, as they are likely to do in the winter months, it’s worth comparing your utility bills with what another energy retailer can offer. InfoChoice can help.
You have a vast choice of which energy retailers to choose from each competing for your business and happy to do deals to get you over the line.
Before you start comparing, it is wise to understand how and when you use energy. This may have increased with work-from-home orders.
Understanding how you use energy, will help you avoid choosing a retailer with a plan that doesn’t suit your household or lifestyle. In this case, you could end up paying more – the opposite of what you are trying to achieve.
If you can, try to move some energy-intensive activities to off peak periods. Using electricity in off-peak periods will save you money.
Comparing has never been easier with the federal government legislating more transparency among energy providers. Retailers must provide a printed summary as well as an energy price fact sheet including all prices and charges, early termination payments and penalties, date and duration of the contract, billing and payment information, your rights and obligations and cooling off periods.
This should help you to accurately compare costs, daily supply charges and billing and payment arrangements. It is also worth checking what the daily supply charge is and whether there are extra fees or bonuses.
Start comparing now, while you check out available rebates
While it probably would have been best to look into energy providers and rebates before winter hit, the good news is it’s still early in the season.
Make your move now and don’t leave things too late. There is money to be saved and put back in your pocket.
Compare Gas & Electricity here to see if you could save.
This update is not financial advice. This article is general news and information.
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