As you may or may not recall, as a part of the 2023 Federal Budget, a new energy bill relief program was officially announced for certain Aussies doing it tough. With news of electricity prices increasing as of July 1 landing, folks are (unsurprisingly) interested to hear about the ways they can save right now. So, here’s a simple guide to what’s happening in electricity and who is eligible for some support right now.
Why are Aussie electricity prices going up?
The Australian Energy Regulator (AER) has confirmed electricity prices will increase by between 19.6 per cent and 23.9 per cent in NSW, SA and south-east Queensland. Small business owners will also be hit with an increase of between 14.7 per cent and 28.9 per cent, depending on region.
These changes will come into effect as of July 1, 2023.
AER Chair Ms Clare Savage said of the electricity price increases:
“We know households and small businesses continue to face cost-of-living pressures on many fronts, and that’s why it’s important the DMO [Default Market Offer] provides a safety net for those who might not have shopped around for a better power deal.
“In setting the DMO price this year we have sought to protect consumers from unjustifiably high prices and at the same time allow retailers to offer consumers better deals than their standard plans.
“No one wants to see rising prices, and we recognise this is a difficult time, that’s why it’s important for consumers to shop around for a better deal by using the free and independent bill comparison website www.energymadeeasy.gov.au and to check rebate and concession eligibility.
“Consumers struggling to pay their energy bills should always contact their retailer as soon as possible because, under the national energy laws, retailers must provide assistance.”
Additionally, as the ABC has reported, Victoria’s Essential Services Commission has also shared that electricity prices will be hiked up by 25 per cent as of July 1.
Victoria’s Essential Services Commission website states that price adjustments have been made due to “significant increases in wholesale electricity costs. These costs would have been even higher in the absence of the Australian Government’s Energy Price Relief Plan,” it shared.
Who can access support for electricity prices now?
Presently, there is an Energy Supplement program available through the government. It can help support certain Aussies with hefty electricity prices.
Per the Services Australia website, you can access the support service if you live in Australia and get either:
- an income support payment
- ABSTUDY Living Allowance
People who became eligible for either the Family Tax Benefit or Commonwealth Seniors Health Card on or before 19 September 2016 may also be eligible.
Payment rates vary depending on what support service you are eligible for. For example, If you get a Pension, individuals (single, including illness separated, respite care or partner in prison) will receive $14.10 per fortnight. Partnered pensioners receive $10.60.
If you’re on a Parenting Payment you’ll receive $12.00 each fortnight if you’re single and $7.90 each fortnight if you have a partner.
You can learn more about that (and other rates) here.
Who is eligible for the new energy relief bill?
As of July 1, 2023, the new aforementioned energy relief bill (announced in the budget) will come into effect.
Again turning to reports from the ABC, the program is rolling out differently in different states and territories, so what people may receive is not exactly straightforward.
One thing to note, however, is that if you’re eligible (that is, you’re either receiving Centrelink payments or are a small business), the savings should automatically come out of your electricity bills.
You don’t need to do anything, the savings will be applied for you. The Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water has also stated that “If you have an eligible card or get a payment from Services Australia and you aren’t already eligible for help from your state or territory, you don’t need to do anything. Services Australia will contact you in September 2023, to tell you what to do.”
How much can I get?
Again, referring to Energy.gov, the savings breakdown works as follows:
If you live in NSW, Queensland, South Australia or Tasmania, you can get $500 per eligible household.
If you live in Victoria, you can get $250 per eligible household, plus a one off $250 direct payment through Victoria’s 2023 Power Saving Bonus Payment.
If you live in the Northern Territory or Western Australia, you can get $350 per eligible household.
If you live in the ACT, you can get $175 per eligible household. Your bills will also be lower owing to the ACT’s Large-scale Feed-in Tariff Scheme which will lower the average bill by $152.
We’ll keep an eye out for any additional updates you may need to know about here, but in the meantime, you can read up on other available support payments here.
The Cheapest NBN 50 Plans
Here are the cheapest plans available for Australia’s most popular NBN speed tier.